What Are Over The Air Updates for Cars?

It is crucial to know the OTA (also known as over the air) update as car owners. With technology nowadays, automobiles have become the combination of transportation with computer processors. And it has abilities to oversee every single detail on the road, from navigation to the powertrain.  And the over-the-air update is the main factor for this convenience. So what is this amazing technology and what can it do? Let’s find out!

The Definition of Over The Air Update

As we all know, the updates from over the air allow car makers to issue future operating systems as well as current much quickly and conveniently. With technology nowadays, they are even automatic, just like a smartphone receives an operating system upgrade. Yet, how can it reach this level of performance?

The Over The Air Update

In order to deliver crucial information to various machines, as well as make sure they are all working properly, the car manufacturers created OTA updates. With cars, the Over the Air updates can be sent via a wireless connection.  This helps customers to have the latest software updates version just by staying home. And it is also installed automatically so the need to visit a dealership service center no longer exists.

car dashboard
What is the OTA updates? (Photo Source: Pexels)

The OTA Updates Categories


As the primary category of OTA updates for cars, the infotainment updates add app versions, streaming services, new interfaces, features as well as refresh map information and supply audio upgrades. Along with that, it provides and improves the in-car experience.

Drive Control

On the other hand, the drive control updates focus on the operation of the car’s ability. With this feature, it helps car owners drive and control automobile safety. To be more specific, there will be system corrections as well as enhancements to chassis and powertrain systems. Also, they add ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) in the update.  

The Working Mechanics of Over-the-Air Update 

In order to update a car, you need both onboard hardware and connectivity. For the hardware, car manufacturers install the TCU (also known as telematics control unit) for the vehicle. To be more specific, this device helps the driver oversee anything transmitted to the car over the air. Also, it wirelessly connects the automobile with the cloud services. 

The TCU also collects telemetry data from the car. Speed, engine date, vector, geographical position, connectivity strength are examples. In order to do that, the TCU works as a satellite navigation unit with the purpose of keeping track of the location coordinates of the car. It also keeps track of memory to store information, electronic processing units as well as an external interface for mobile communication like 5G and LTE.  


The combination of these two components helps the Over-the-air update happen. 

Now we understand how the OTA updates work, time to answer the next question: What are the advantages of the OTA update? 

The Advantages of Over-the-Air Update

If it is unhelpful, there is no way car owners will install the update. In fact, car owners can receive various benefits from the OTA updates.

The first advantage is the none recall. To be more specific, there are much more recalls that are software-related than before, and the serviced recall from OTA means there is no dealer visit for the owner.

car dashboard
The OTA updates brings many advantages (Photo Source: Pexels)

The second benefit is the feature combined. Thanks to the feature updates, your car could become better-equipped as time goes by. There will also be a slower rate of depreciation, and in some situations, the OTA capabilities can raise the car’s value. Along with that, safety is also crucial. The Over-the-Air update is able to spot the problems with just a bit of delay. And thanks for the features, it saves a lot of time and money for car owners. This is due to the savings for the carmaker in labor costs.

The third advantage of the update is the dealer service inspections. Thanks for the OTA updates, the car owners can save cash with this. To be more specific, the service department might save the recommended routine, as well as unnecessary maintenance. Last but not least, we have security concerns. With the wireless connection, you can reduce a lot of risk from malware or personal information exposure.

In Conclusion

Thanks to the technology, the over the air update brings benefits to both automakers and drivers. The more technologically connected and advanced the cars become, the more car owners need to have the OTA updates. The benefits of these updates are various which boost the demand of this feature. With the help of over the air updates, car owners can drive the vehicle much safer and better in every way.