Car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Toyota and others are mulling over the need to push for regular software updates that they use in making their smart cars. And if this is to happen, it is likely to be good news to suppliers of semiconductors such as Gemalto and Ericson who form an integral part in the entire value chain of building and updating software.
The idea behind this is simple. Smart cars use technology to help users do all manner of things. For example, many smart cars nowadays have the autopilot function. This lets the user sit back watch the car pack itself. The technology can also be used to let the user control the car remotely.
For this to happen, the cars make use of complex software that is based on millions of lines of code. As it has always happened, software is easily vulnerable to glitches. Glitches arise from the instance of hacking and other forms of attack which make it difficult for users to enjoy using the software as it was meant to be.
To fix this, companies usually develop regular updates of their software. Users are usually prompted to download the files that can be used to update the software in their devices.
It is this practice that car manufacturers are now considering adopting. According to Ericsson’s Jonathan Olsson, there are several reasons that make it necessary for car manufacturers to adopt the practice of constantly updating their software. The first one is the hacking menace.
The fact that many cars are now getting connected to each other means that hackers will always try to mess up with the way the cars work. An in an interesting event lately, Toyota was forced to recall a number of its Toyota Prius models that it had already released to the market for fear that the software used in the cars had developed bugs. It was not clear whether the thing had been hacked into but the event underscores the level of vulnerability that smart cars face.
The second reason is related to the rise of the use of software in cars. Lars Reger, who works for NXP, believes that cars are going to make more use of software than they are doing right now. He believes that in the near future, car manufacturers will seek to integrate different applications in cars more than it is the case now. This will make it necessary for car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to constantly provide updates for the software that is used in their products.