German automaker Volkswagen has announced that it has launched Over-the-Air Updates for each of the models in its ID. family of vehicles.
Over-the-Air Updates allow manufacturers to roll out vehicle improvements through software downloads that go to the car through an internet connection. Tesla is the most notorious carmaker to utilize Over-the-Air updates for its vehicles. The company employs them for performance, entertainment, and updates to the company’s Full Self-Driving suite.
Volkswagen has been working on Over-the-Air Updates for several months, aiming to release them during Summer 2021. The company has officially announced that it will begin rolling them out as a part of its ACCELERATE strategy, and the downloads will begin effective immediately. “Full availability of our Over-the-Air Updates underlines the innovative capacity of Volkswagen and forms the basis for a completely new, digital customer experience,” Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter said. “At the same time, we are laying the foundation for new digital business models and hitting a key milestone in our ACCELERATE strategy.”
Volkswagen has been experimenting with the OTA updates with an exclusive “ID. First Movers Club,” a group of customers who gained exclusive access to the program.
The first bit of software updates that will be rolled out will be ID. Software 2.3 and will offer new functions and improve already available features. The features in the initial update include:
- ID. Light – a light strip at the bottom of the windscreen that gives information that can prove intuitive support for energy-saving driving.
- Improved Image Processing for the multifunction camera, allowing it to recognize motorcycles and other road users
- Dynamic headlight beam control for more precise headlight regulation
- New graphics on infotainment display for calmer, clearer, and more intuitive operation
Volkswagen is also looking at the latest OTA update program as a way to “lay the foundation for new, customer-oriented business models.” VW says in a press release that it is “the only high-volume manufacturer to provide this technology for its customers.”
The updates are developed by Volkswagen in close collaboration with VW AG’s software company CARIAD. “The new updates are a central functionality of the digital, connected car. They will quickly become normal for our customers, in the same way as they have for their smartphones,” Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, Thomas Ulbrich, said. “Software development is iterative and fast. We work in short cycles, like a tech company, and provide updates to our customers at correspondingly short intervals.”
The rollout of a widespread Update program will also help the automaker remain in contact with its customers. Vehicles that always have the latest software on board can provide an excellent digital customer experience and are therefore of the utmost importance for our future success,” Ulbrich added.