“OTA” is Essential for Autonomous Driving to Improve the Convenience of Owners

It is common sense to update the software used in smartphones and personal computers now. Sometimes you need to fix bugs caused by mistakes when developing software. Also, if you have a communication function and are connected to the outside world via the Internet, there is a possibility of malicious access or attack, so you need to update to prevent it. Therefore, many IoT devices are currently updating software using wireless functions. This is called “OTA (Over The Air)” because it is “via wireless”.

I would like to consider this problem with car software. Cars are loaded with a great deal of software, but so far they have had few wireless capabilities. Software development has been carried out with caution, as car accidents are directly linked to the lives of occupants and those around them. As a result, there were few bugs, and software updates were not very frequent. Against this background, car software updates were carried out by bringing the car to a dealer who sells new cars and connecting the equipment by wire.

Relationship between OTA and autonomous driving
However, in recent years, the environment surrounding cars has changed significantly. A new movement of the car called CASE has emerged. C in CASE is the connected communication function, A is the automatic driving function of Autonomous, S is the new usage of service & share, and E is the electrification of electric.

Among these, the connected function and the automatic driving function are closely related to OTA. Having a connected feature means that you need to take measures against malicious hacking. In addition, a detailed map is required for advanced autonomous driving functions, and the map is also required to be up-to-date. Of course, it is extremely inconvenient to work at a dealer store to update such a map, and OTA is desirable. In other words, if CASE progresses, it is inevitable that OTA will be introduced into cars.

Especially in Japan, advanced driver assistance systems, which are the gateway to autonomous driving technology, have spread at a terrifying speed. As of the end of 2019, the number of Japanese cars equipped with collision damage mitigation automatic brakes has already increased to around 90% of new cars. At the same time, many Japanese manufacturers, including Toyota, are enthusiastically adopting in-vehicle communication equipment. However, at present, these communication functions are used for reporting in the event of a traffic accident, entertainment, and enhancement of car navigation functions, but it can be seen that preparations for the introduction of OTA in Japan are being made.

OTA permit system started in Japan
In such a situation, the country finally moved. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced in August 2020 that “a permit system for specific modifications of automobiles will start in November this year.” This is to start from November 2020 with the OTA of the car as a permit system. The requirements for permission are “have management ability to ensure appropriate updates and cyber security”, “have a system to correct defects caused by updates”, and “updated vehicles meet security standards”. To do. ”

From the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism press release © Provided by ASCII From the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism press release
Along with the launch of such a system, it was reported that Toyota, Nissan, etc. would immediately release a new model equipped with the OTA function in 2021.

Appropriate OTA is a big advantage for users. This is because there is no need to bring the car to the dealer to update the software. In addition to fixing bugs and dealing with security, we can expect improvements in the functions of advanced driver assistance systems.

For example, Toyota is implementing a functional upgrade of Toyota Safety Sense, which is an advanced driver assistance system sold in September 2020, but this was done in actual work at dealer stores. If this can be done with OTA, it will greatly reduce the effort for both users and dealers. It can be said that the inherent merits of the connected function can finally be fully demonstrated by introducing OTA.