BlackBerry offers wireless upgrade platform for cars

Noting the complexity of new in-vehicle software, BlackBerry demonstrated how its platform could be used to update software in existing cars.

BlackBerry automotive OTA diagram
BlackBerry demonstrated a service that would let automakers wirelessly deliver updates to cars. BlackBerry

At the Telematics Detroit conference, BlackBerry demonstrated to automakers how its platform could be used to send wireless software updates to cars.

BlackBerry noted that cars are coming out with feature-rich software in the dashboard for navigation, hands-free phone calls, and audio. BlackBerry's back-end platform allows automakers to remotely update this software, potentially adding features.

The platform was built on BlackBerry's existing capability of updating its mobile handsets over the air.

Tesla and Audi already have independently deployed this capability, offering customers wireless updates to dashboard features and, with Tesla's Model S, actual driving performance software.

BlackBerry's biggest hurdle to adoption of its platform among automakers is the proportion of vehicles that actually have a built-in data connection. Those that do tend to have an already robust telematics architecture, such as OnStar, which should be capable of delivering wireless updates.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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