Almost daily, the news is filled with breathless announcements of massive investments and big plans for autonomous vehicles.
But the stories don’t mention the swarm of bugs that are invading every vehicle system. Vehicle software has become ever more complex. We risk being unable to gather meaningful data to locate, troubleshoot and fix complicated systems, before the next bug triggers a headline-grabbing mass recall.
We are asked to trust our lives with vehicle software that will increasingly take over driving, yet in 2016 and 2017, Nissan, GM and Chrysler recalled 8.2 million cars to update software errors just in the airbags. The annual cost, in the U.S. alone, for software updates is estimated by Strategy Analytics at a jaw-dropping $6 billion.
At the eSync Alliance, we believe that the industry needs to move faster to ‘whole car’ updates and data gathering. If we are going to perfect the software in an automotive device, we want to know, truly know, how it is performing in the field, not just the theory of how it should perform, or the sample of how it performed for a few months in 20, 50 or 100 test cars.
We have established the eSync Alliance to accelerate the deployment of whole car OTA updating and data gathering. The eSync Alliance has launched eSync, the only open industry-wide, multi-company platform that provides an end-to-end bi-directional data pipeline to all devices in the vehicle.
The power of eSync is that engineers can access data from the devices in the field. And they don’t even have to decide exactly what information is needed before the system ships. They can configure the data gathering as the questions arise -- when they start seeing something they didn’t expect. With one pipeline that can do both OTA updating and data gathering, eSync transforms the learning cycle.
The eSync Alliance is incubating an ecosystem of OEMs, Tier1s, and technology providers to completely cover the needs of the industry. There is no bias toward any one device in the vehicle – having the perfect solution for infotainment is useless if it ignores body control or drive train modules. eSync is agnostic to operating system and in-vehicle network, and scales from the smallest sensor, through resource-rich head units, to super-computer autonomous driving systems.
By working together, we can move much faster to whole car updates, and we can make all systems safer. As an alliance, we can solve the problems of complex software, before the costs of recalls halt innovation in autonomous driving.
Please contact us at eSync Alliance to learn more about our open ecosystem approach to OTA updating and data gathering.
Rick Kreifeldt is the executive director of eSync Alliance