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Dawn of a new era - over the air automotive updating

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 6, 2011

I’ve heard it talked about for some time and it certainly makes sense – being able to update the software in a car over the air in much the same way that Microsoft periodically updates Windows, though I hope my car will not have to reboot to finish the job.

Red Bend Software, which specializes in mobile software management, and has its software in more than one billion devices, has agreed to port its vRapid Mobile over-the-air software updating technology to the QNX Neutrino realtime operating system. QNX has its technology in more than 20 million automotive systems.

Over-the-air updating can eliminate the need for software-related recalls besides eliminating the need for consumers or fleet owners to bring their vehicles back to the dealer for routine software-related maintenance. Perhaps as important, having a pipeline to the consumer allows automakers to add new features, especially in in-vehicle infotainment – narrowing the development gap between consumer and automotive electronics.

Red Bend entered the automotive market more than two years ago, and its customers are just now starting to roll out the technology, according to Lori Sylvia, Red Bend’s executive vice president of marketing. She predicts that by the end of this year, automakers will begin promoting their ability to update software remotely. Red Bend and QNX have worked together on customer projects.

“This is the first big announcement we’re making in the automotive space,” Sylvia says.  “When we decided to enter the market we looked toward establishing a relationship with QNX because it is the leader in this space – and the fact that they are the first RTOS developer to collaborate with us is an example of that leadership.”

Sylvia says the integration of Red Bend and QNX software will save automakers significant development time. “We’ve seen in the past year instances where automakers and their customers could have benefited from having a remote updating capability,” she notes.

And now it’s here.

QNX Neutrino realtime operating system, Red Bend Software, Microsoft, vRapid Mobile over-the-air software updating technology, Windows

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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