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Car Fix OTA- No Tech Required

Recalls fixed Over-The-Air (OTA)

Auto Techs working on laptop in auto repair shop, Over-the-air (OTA) fix

Recently, Tesla’s Model 3 was a Consumer Report’s bust when the organization did not recommend the purchase of this vehicle. Consumer Reports expressed concern regarding the car’s braking distance. A few days later, Consumer Reports amended their recommendation. Tesla sent an over-the-air or OTA fix to the antilock braking system which corrected the problem. It is this fix that is triggering conversations about fixing cars OTA without a technician standing over the vehicle.

OTA or remote computer repairs are nothing new. Microsoft sends updates to our computers to patch holes and fix bugs. Apple and Android keep our phones going with system updates. If we have other computer troubles, technicians remote in and fix them. For cars, this is new, and it is not limited to Teslas or to a regular car’s navigation system. Most new cars on the road today have 91 computers operating over one network. Recalls related to overheating and braking issues modulated by software can already be fixed OTA. Ford and GM plan to have all vehicles with broader OTA capabilities by 2020. As cars’ network capabilities expand, OTA software fixes will also grow.

OTA is becoming the new normal as automotive systems grow in sophistication and more hardware is controlled with software. This new normal brings network security concerns and safety concerns over the timing of OTA updates (completed when the car is idle versus driving on the highway). It is also a strong reminder that today’s dealerships must be capable of handling OTA recalls at all levels of the organization. This includes team members being aware of new OTA capabilities and having technicians that are trained to work with automotive computer systems.

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