Here Technologies has announced OTA Connect, a technology that aims to quickly and securely transfer data between vehicles and the cloud. The open-source technology is developed both for use by OEMs in production vehicles and as a standalone product that can also work across robotics and drones.
OTA Connect is designed to integrate into an auto maker’s backend and uses open-source technology. The upshot is that it can be offered to automotive customers globally and avoids lock-in to specific vendors. Currently available as a standalone product, Here plans to combine OTA Connect with its suite of automotive software and services in the coming months, and to make the technology available for non-automotive applications, which could include robotics and drones.
Autonomous cars in particular are a powerful target for hackers, so OTA updates need advanced security measures. OTA Connect promises to provide an essential link in the security chain. It uses Uptane, a security framework backed by the US Department of Homeland Security designed specifically for software that runs on connected and autonomous cars.
“Safety is top of mind,” said Armin G Schmidt, senior director OTA at Here Technologies. “With cars, the stakes are so much higher than mere data breaches. As car makers develop connected and self-driving systems, they must also design and operate their vehicles to keep out intruders. Here OTA Connect not only provides a highly secure framework against hacker hijacking, but it speeds up the process of getting important safety updates out in a cost-effective and scalable manner.”
Safety standards and regulations are a hot topic when it comes to AVs, so international law commissions and government bodies are working to make OTA compliance mandatory. The US Department of Transportation, UK Department for Transport and the German BMVI are working on national-level legislation involving OTA updates. On a global level, the UN Task Force (UNECE WP29) is expected to issue a recommendation in mid-2018, with a resolution expected in 2019.
“OTA technology is the next big advancement in keeping vehicles safe and up-to-date with less cost to both auto makers and car owners,” said Ralf Herrtwich, senior vice president automotive at Here Technologies. “Here OTA Connect provides cost- and time-saving benefits by enabling auto makers to update vehicles remotely, such as in large recall campaigns. It also opens up revenue streams for auto makers by giving their customers the ability to purchase new vehicle upgrades and features at the touch of a button.”
By Illya Verpraet