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Sonatus Updater: Software update management for modern vehicles

Jan 4, 2024

Unified solution for all types of vehicle software updates

Software is becoming integral to vehicles as the industry shifts universally towards “software defined vehicles” (SDVs). Vehicle software provides incredible potential for ongoing improvements, optimization of vehicle designs, cost and weight reduction through compute consolidation, and much more. As software proliferates, it’s critical to have the ability to regularly apply software updates—like fixing bugs, patching cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and adding capabilities. Unfortunately, existing solutions for managing over-the-air updates (OTA) have not kept up with the increasing complexity of vehicle software. Sonatus Updater, announced today, aims to offer an industry-leading solution for comprehensive xOTA management.  You can read our full press announcement to see all the details of the launch.

Let’s start with the “x”: Comprehensive OTA Management

What do we mean by xOTA? Typical vehicle OTA updates are really firmware updates, often referred to as FOTA. That follows the legacy approach of all vehicle software being hidden inside firmware inside ECUs, which were often literally and figuratively “black boxes” inside a vehicle designed for a specific function throughout their lifetime. Firmware remains a critical aspect of vehicle updates, and Sonatus Updater manages FOTA updates across the vehicle. However, firmware is not the only kind of vehicle software. Increasingly, vehicle software is being deployed in containers, policy updates, configuration changes, and more. So the “x” refers to the single pane of glass that Updater offers for OEMs to manage these different types of updates in a unified way to avoid conflicts, not just firmware.

Proactive dry runs to ensure success

Updates are also getting more expensive as software size grows. OTA updates can reach hundreds of megabytes. With many vehicles connected over LTE networks, it is critical to carefully manage the deployment of OTA updates over the right networks. Urgent updates may need direct download over LTE, while others may be relegated to deployment when vehicles connect to WiFi. Advanced management of vehicle updates is critical to ensure OEM update managers are using the right channels. Adding to this complexity are the growing prerequisites for successful updates. Sonatus Updater can address these challenges through proactive dry runs of update campaigns to ensure OEMs are not surprised by high costs or unexpected high failure rates. 

Advanced diagnostics

The complexity of updates also means failures are inevitable, and it’s critically important to provide OEMs with the tools to diagnose what went wrong. With multiple subsystems involved, it can be a complex challenge. The conventional approach may rely on bringing vehicles to service centers for updates, but 86% of consumers vastly prefer to have updates succeed without service center visits, according to a recent survey by Wakefield Research commissioned by Sonatus. Sonatus Updater provides unprecedented traceability to allow OEMs to identify campaign failures so they can be addressed. 

Software is an integral part of modern vehicles, but frustration from software updates doesn’t need to be. We’re proud to roll out this comprehensive new OTA update software solution that addresses the needs of modern vehicles now and into the future.

At CES 2024, we showed what Updater can do in public for the first time. We take you inside the role of an OEM software engineer managing an update campaign and show you how it makes that task more efficient, more cost-effective, and easier to get right the first time. Moreover, if things go wrong in the campaign, we show how Sonatus Updater and help you understand the problem quickly. I hope you will come visit us at an upcoming event or you can request a demo to see the future of xOTA management!

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