SOTA the take off

ABI Research anticipates accelerated adoption of automotive software over-the-air (SOTA) updates with nearly 180 million new SOTA-enabled cars shipping between 2016 and 2022.

As the automotive industry ramps up its adoption of the technology, ABI Research forecasts nearly 203 million SOTA-enabled cars to ship by 2022. Both SOTA and firmware over-the-air (FOTA) will see a spike, with nearly 180 million new cars supporting SOTA and 22 million FOTA by 2022. Beyond Tesla, car OEMs will primarily focus the next three to five years on SOTA versus the still nascent FOTA upgrade.

‘Three factors changed the course of the automotive industry and paved the way for the future of OTA: recall cost, Tesla’s success as the foundation of autonomous driving, and security risks based on software complexities,’ explained Susan Beardslee, senior analyst at ABI Research. ‘It is a welcome transformation, as OTA is the only way to accomplish secure management of all of a connected car’s software in a seamless, comprehensive, and fully integrated manner.’

The positive changes that OTA can bestow on the car recall process is alone a vital benefit. In the past two years, the recall rate increased to approximately 46% with four major car OEMs setting aside a combined $20 billion in 2015 in warranty reserves. Though not all recalls can be fixed via an OTA update, ABI Research market analysis suggests that close to one-third of last year’s recalls could have been addressed over the air, saving car OEMs at least $6 billion.

As the level of vehicle autonomy accelerates, cybersecurity will become increasingly critical. To address cybersecurity risks that stem from software upgrades, ABI Research anticipates the automotive industry will begin to see more mergers and acquisitions over the next two years as car OEMs emphasise the value of software management solutions.

But this industry change is not without its challenges: particularly, the threat to car dealerships and the danger of customers opting out of software upgrades. ‘The car dealers have everything to lose,’ concluded Susan.