Wind River Syncs Up with Ford Delivering Differential OTA Updates

By Cynthia S. Artin October 26, 2018

Wind River announced this week that Ford Motor Company will be using their over-the-air (OTA) update technology in future vehicles.

The Wind River announcement is important because it will enable updating of software automatically, over the air, using WiFi hotspots in vehicles, including those made and marketed by Ford.

“Complexity is dramatically increasing as new capabilities are expected from connected, highly intelligent cars, and software is the key to enabling this transformation within the industry,” said Marques McCammon, vice president of Automotive at Wind River. “Automakers must keep pace with innovation while also ensuring that they deliver safe vehicles. Therefore, the ability to continuously and remotely update, resolve issues and introduce new features for improved customer satisfaction will be more critical than ever. By delivering new innovations to companies like Ford, we’re helping to improve efficiencies and experiences for carmakers and their customers.”

Wind River’s differential updates allow for the ability to minimize data update size, transmission time, and memory usage for updating vehicle software over the air. By creating the most minimal differential update possible during OTA updates, this approach offers the potential for cost reductions as well as a better experience for consumers.

With OTA updates, carmakers can rapidly deploy secure, cost-efficient updates and new features to connected vehicles, eliminating software recalls and the associated costs.

Wind River’s Edge Sync is a software framework for remote OTA updates and software lifecycle management that allows for rapid, safe, and secure updates to software and firmware throughout the vehicle lifecycle, from initial product development through to the end of life of the vehicle. Edge Sync enables rapid, cost-effective solutions for software-related updates, corrections to security vulnerabilities, and feature-related recalls, as well as helps automakers introduce new and exciting value-add features to vehicles that are already in the hands of customers.

Beyond OTA updates, Wind River’s diverse automotive portfolio also includes the high-performance, market-leading VxWorks RTOS, tuned for determinism and responsiveness, with a proven track record in safety.

Ford is a pioneer in smart and connected car technologies.

The latest version of Ford SYNC 3 includes enhanced voice recognition, simple music search, a capacitive touchscreen, and climate control that adds up to drive safety, enabling people to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The latest SYNC also includes “Ford+Alexa” which integrates Amazon Alexa and delivers access to voice navigation, traffic information, over 30,000 skills, Amazon Prime shopping and an ability to control supported smart home devices, according to Ford’s website.

SYNC 3 also includes FordPass, used to track vehicle location and remotely access vehicle features, such as start, lock and unlock, and vehicle status, including fuel level.

SYNC 3’s Wi-Fi hotspot can connect up to ten devices at once, so passengers can stay connected while the vehicle is traveling.

There are even more features, powered by technology partners including SiriusXM for traffic and travel information, Waze for crowd-sourced information on the road and more, and compatibility with Google apps on the Android operating system.

Wind River solutions will be integrated into the future manufacturing of Ford vehicles.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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