The yearly tune-up to keep a vehicle operating at its peak may one day be a thing of the past.
Instead, it will be done without even leaving the driveway.
Automakers and truck manufacturers are racing to develop software update technology that wirelessly tunes the network of computers that control a vehicle’s operations.
Just as an iPhone can install the latest operating system when it becomes available, passenger cars to Class 8 semi-trailer trucks will soon have the ability to download over-the-air, or OTA, enhancements without the need of a mechanic.
By 2023 there will be more than 140 million passenger vehicles globally equipped with cloud-enabled technology that can manage some types of OTA updates, according to IHS Markit, an industry research firm. Nearly 20 million will have the ability to download updates directly into their core electronic control unit, which runs every major component, including the engine.
In the trucking industry, the ability to download fixes and upgrades could save huge sums of money.
In 2016, Navistar International Corp. began offering OTA updates without charge for owners of certain International brand trucks. Customers with older vehicles – but still built since 2010 — can also add the technology for a fee.