Online updating of modern vehicles is becoming the industry standard, so much so it now has its own jargon: Over the Air, or OTA. Tesla has been doing OTA updates since September 2012, and now Volvo plans to roll out its first over-the-air updates later this week.
In fact, some owners will receive notifications on their vehicle's media screen that an update is ready to be downloaded. This is a major step for Volvo and tangible proof of its intention to keep the technology in its future vehicles up to date through automatic updates.
The first operation will specifically target owners of the XC40 Recharge, as well as 2022 model-year XC60, XC60 Recharge and XC60 Polestar Engineered SUVs equipped with the integrated Google system. The update includes new multimedia software, as well as fixes for Sirus XM satellite radio issues and capabilities.
However, there’s another notable benefit, one that owners of all-electric Volvos will be particularly happy about. Volvo says that this week’s updates will increase range via a change to the propulsion system and range. The company didn't specify what the exact increase will be, but the point is that it means we expect gains for our EVs down the road, even years after buying them.
Another interesting aspect to watch with this technology is its impact on how certain recalls will be handled. A problem with a rearview camera, for example, as we saw with Audi this week, could be fixed remotely. This could mean big savings for manufacturers, not to mention time saved for owners who won’t have to being their vehicle to the shop.