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Delphi wants to bring over-the-air updates to new and used cars

Why bother going into the dealership for a small software update?


As a supplier, Delphi is responsible for developing all manner of systems and selling them to automakers. Its latest might actually keep owners away from the dealership, at least some of the time.

Delphi is working on over-the-air (OTA) software updates, which it hopes to sell to a number of automakers to help them gain an advantage as cars become increasingly digitalized, Bloomberg reports.

It wouldn't be just for new cars, either -- Delphi's system reportedly works with cars from all the way back in 2010. It would permit these cars to update certain systems, whether it's engine control units or infotainment, wirelessly and without a trip to the dealer. Delphi hopes its new-car OTA systems could be put to use as early as 2020.

Self-driving car technology isn't Delphi's only area of expertise.


To do this, Delphi is leveraging the technology it acquired along with the company Movimento in January. Movimento teamed up with Mitsubishi Electric in 2015 to supply OTA capabilities to the next generation of Mitsubishi Electric infotainment systems, which can be found in a variety of automakers' vehicles.

OTA updates might seem detrimental to dealers, which generally rely on service departments to bring in the profits that lower-margin vehicle sales cannot. But OTA will ultimately save time and effort for the consumer, which can improve consumer happiness and perhaps make them more willing to take other dealer trips.

Research from IHS Markit shows that OTA capabilities can save manufacturers as much as $35 billion over the next five years, since less money can be spent on software recalls, updates and warranty costs.

Tesla has long been a fan of over-the-air updates, offering the technology on both the Model S and Model X. It's regularly used to push infotainment upgrades to owners, as well as enabling various Autopilot systems as Tesla grows confident of their safety.