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GM (others?) prohibited from utilizing OTA upgrades?

Footbag

Member
Jun 29, 2013
527
152
Edmonton, Canada
Hmm interesting. One of Tesla's best features, the ability to add features and make changes to the car OTA (over the air), was one I thought sure was going to be copied by all the other auto manufactures. Apparently not. It appears that at CES GM let slip a key disadvantage of its dealer network, that it specifically disallows OTA upgrades, the dealers must be the ones to program the car.
While I'm sure at some point that restriction will get modified, Tesla will have built themselves quite the lead in perfecting that key ability.
http://www.streetinsider.com/dr/news.php?id=11202274
 

SabrToothSqrl

Active Member
Dec 5, 2014
3,741
3,042
PA
Sweet! I loathe GM with a hatred justified by a vehicle purchase, and their deep down desire to kill people. Good riddance.
 

TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,644
8,478
Austin, TX
What is meant in the article by Dealership Network Rules? Is this the state dealer franchise laws, which would vary by state, or is it the contract GM has with its dealers? I very much doubt that dealer franchise laws written decades ago address the topic of software updates, and if it's dealer contracts couldn't those be renegotiated?
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,242
florida.
Hmm interesting. One of Tesla's best features, the ability to add features and make changes to the car OTA (over the air), was one I thought sure was going to be copied by all the other auto manufactures. Apparently not. It appears that at CES GM let slip a key disadvantage of its dealer network, that it specifically disallows OTA upgrades, the dealers must be the ones to program the car.
While I'm sure at some point that restriction will get modified, Tesla will have built themselves quite the lead in perfecting that key ability.
http://www.streetinsider.com/dr/news.php?id=11202274
this is an example of the traditional car manufacturer model and why tesla is different
 

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,063
56,528
Tesla friendly place
What is meant in the article by Dealership Network Rules? Is this the state dealer franchise laws, which would vary by state, or is it the contract GM has with its dealers? I very much doubt that dealer franchise laws written decades ago address the topic of software updates, and if it's dealer contracts couldn't those be renegotiated?

While the original franchise laws definitely wouldn't have had OTA rules, we've seen the dealers move pretty quickly in changing those laws when they see a threat in regards to Tesla. It wouldn't surprise me if at some point they'd made changes concerning OTA updates. And it wouldn't surprise me if GM held little power at any negotiating table. I do question the validity of the OTA statement made in that article because of the source of it. He's proven to be a tad over zealous and blatantly wrong about some things.
 

fwgmills

Supporting Member
Jun 30, 2015
151
70
Roanoke, TX
It could also have to do with ownership rules. Once the dealer "purchases" the vehicle from the factory, the factory is probably not allowed to remotely change the functions of the vehicle. Therefore the "owner" (the dealership or me once I buy the car from the dealer) could do such an update. I've updated MyFord Touch several times since I bought my Explorer. I can do it or the dealer can do it (with authorization from me) but Ford can't, probably because the concept of over the air updates just didn't exist before connected cars. It worked the same way in the cellphone industry until Apple and Google came along and even now, Apple phones can update but other phones may not be able to because the carrier has their own code on them.
 
Last edited:

Breezy

Member
Dec 15, 2013
451
119
SW Ontario
I guess nobody clicked through to the original Reuters article.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-ces-gm-idUSKBN0UK2N620160107

General Motors Co (GM.N) will not use 'over-the-air' upgrades, a way of remotely updating software on its vehicles, for safety-critical vehicle systems such as brakes, the automaker's product development chief said on Wednesday, signaling a different approach from electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O).

Mark Reuss, head of GM's global product development, said the U.S. No. 1 automaker plans to expand the use of over-the-air upgrades as it adopts a new electrical architecture for its vehicles over the next several years. GM makes some over-the-air updates to vehicles now through its OnStar telematics system, Reuss said.

"We don't do as much PR around it," said Reuss, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, adding that GM's new electrical architecture will be "ever more safe" from a data security standpoint and allow for additional upgrades.

However, asked if GM would use over-the-air upgrades for vehicle systems such as braking or steering, Reuss said: "We would never do that."
 

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,063
56,528
Tesla friendly place
The first Dealership Network Rule is don't talk about Dealership Network Rules.

This is me not expressing laughter by not typing: LOL!

- - - Updated - - -

I guess nobody clicked through to the original Reuters article.

Of course not! I expect people to never be misquoted or taken out of context by any media source, ever. :redface: Thanks for setting us straight.
 

Ludus

Member
May 1, 2013
367
126
Michigan
http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/international/2015/10/01/266064.htm

An older article about OTA updates and Tesla. The dealer relationship is a serious impediment.

Traditional carmakers’ reliance on car dealers also impedes OTA adoption, with some dealers worried their lucrative service revenue will drop off if car owners come less frequently to dealerships when fixes are done by OTA updates, said Lanctot.“It’s not in carmakers’ interest to annoy the dealer,” he said.
Jackson, Michigan, Chrysler dealer Wes Lutz defends his role, arguing that while Tesla’s higher income clients may be tech buffs keen on OTAs, the average car owner is less savvy and needs hand-holding.
“When it’s daylight savings time and the clock changes, I have customers lining up out the door!” Lutz said.

That last comment from the dealer getting a kick out of customers lining up to have their vehicle clocks set for daylight savings time is an interesting indicator of the traditional attitude.
 

Ludus

Member
May 1, 2013
367
126
Michigan
I think this a subtle issue but might prove to be extremely important. L4 self driving is all about training deep learning algorithms with vast amounts of data. OTA updates gives Tesla an insane edge refining it with their existing fleet on the road all over the world generating training data. Within a year they'll have 100k vehicles participating in autopilot iterations while everybody else has a few dozen test vehicles.

This issue illustrates some of the difficulty traditional carmakers will have catching up. Tesla might have full L4 autonomy ready in 2 years well ahead of any competition. They'd also have complete vertical integration while everybody else is trying to get layers of systems from different vendors to work together securely and reliably.

OTA updates still seem like a cute secondary feature to most traditional automakers. They might prove to be the main reason Tesla could release solid L4 Autonomy first and have the market to themselves long enough to establish global dominance in it.
 

Vitold

Active Member
Aug 10, 2015
1,688
1,785
NM
I guess nobody clicked through to the original Reuters article.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-ces-gm-idUSKBN0UK2N620160107

The original is not much better:

"We don't do as much PR around it," said Reuss, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, adding that GM's new electrical architecture will be "ever more safe" from a data security standpoint and allow for additional upgrades.

I guess no one bothered to ask Reuss what 'ever more safe' means but it will evermore sound like marketing speak to me.
 

SebastianR

Active Member
Feb 8, 2013
1,191
5,977
Denmark
Of course the cynic in me expects legislation that prohibits OTA updates for things that GM couldn't do in order to prevent "security issues" - completely ignoring that in the Jeep incidents, cars were exploited remotely but had to visit a car dealer to be fixed... Here is to hoping that legislators don't break this nice thing for us.
 

John Stuckey

Member
Oct 15, 2015
201
112
Dayton, Ohio
"ever more safe" may be code speak for killing people and actually getting away with it forever. It is hard to trust folks who continue to kill children after they are aware of what they are doing be it GM or the State of Michigan.
 

Haggy

Member
Jun 19, 2014
188
31
Fremont
It would come down to looking at the language in individual agreements. Tesla doesn't do automatic OTA upgrades in order to change firmware revisions. They do automatic downloads. They leave it up to customers to do the upgrade. It requires merely touching the screen rather than downloading something to a thumb drive and putting it in a connector, but if an agreement literally banned them from upgrading the software remotely, Tesla could easily say that they don't do that with the car's firmware. If contracts were written in a poor way, one could argue that dynamically downloading Google maps would violate an agreement. Of course Tesla downloads what could be considered software, especially if you use the broader definition that includes programs and data.
 

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