Land Rover Defender digs into connectivity with dual-SIM technology

Not one, but two LTE modems will allow over-the-air updates to take place and not interrupt other functions.

Not just metal boxes -- these SUVs are chock-full of tech.
Land Rover

This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.

Over-the-air updates are one feature beginning to take the auto industry by storm. Rather than take a vehicle in to a dealership for an update, companies can simply push an update to the car directly. The trouble is, it often requires the system's full attention to do so.

The Land Rover Defender will buck that trend. On Monday, the brand said the Defender will be the first vehicle on sale to boast dual-SIM connectivity. There are two LTE modems onboard to handle OTA updates and other connectivity functions. For example, the owner will still be able to enjoy streaming music while Land Rover pushes an update to the Defender. OTA updates should be hardly noticeable with the technology.

Land Rover added that there will be two additional points of interest eligible for OTA updates. At the SUV's debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year, the brand said 14 electronic modules would carry OTA update capability. In the latest announcement, the figure has grown to 16. It's not clear what all of them are yet, however.

They should cover basically any essential software, though, since the company believes Land Rover owners won't need to ever set foot in a dealership for updates come 2021. At that point, there will 45 modules ready for OTA updates, according to the automaker.

In addition to the new dual-SIM technology, Land Rover also plans to show off the Defender's new Pivi Pro infotainment system. It should be a snappy thing with a dedicated battery that makes it incredibly responsive, even from the moment the SUV's engine fires up. Powering all of it are two Qualcomm Snapdragon Automotive Platforms, each with its own dedicated LTE modem, as mentioned. As for the operating system, BlackBerry QNX powers the infotainment.

The company plans to talk a lot more about the new tech and also highlight the active safety equipment from Bosch at CES. Both the Defender 90 and Defender 110 will be on display at the show, and boy is it clear these SUVs are far more than just rugged shapes of metal these days.

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