CEO Mary Barra says GM will employ over-the-air updates before 2020

GM Renaissance Center American flag

GM Renaissance Center American flag

Although some automakers—notably Tesla—have been utilizing over-the-air (OTA) updates for years in its vehicles, many others have shied away from the technology. But, as security increases and costs decrease, automakers are slowly adopting the technology. General Motors is on deck.

GM CEO Mary Barra told investors the automaker will begin OTA updates by 2020, according to Automotive News (subscription required). Per Barra, GM is currently in the process of rolling out a new electrical architecture alongside a new generation of infotainment systems, which will usher in OTA-update capability.

“You’ll see us have (over-the-air) capability as we move forward,” Barra said.

GM has dipped into the OTA realm, but only through its OnStar subscription service to implement updates. Future OTA capability will be able to update infotainment and mechanical systems, much like how Tesla’s updates work currently. The technology has benefits for automakers and customers. Automakers are able to push out updates to infotainment and mechanical systems in real time and there is no need for a customer to take a vehicle to its appropriate dealership for service.

Updates will only become more important as self-driving cars and autonomous driving technology become more prevalent. In regards to GM, it will launch its first foray into self-driving technology with its Super Cruise system, which will debut with the 2018 Cadillac CT6 later this year. The system will be capable of handling all controls during highway driving but it can not be engaged on local streets.

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