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Managing Connected Cars

John Day

John Day

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Technology is changing the relationship between car buyers and car makers. Where there was little or no relationship between the two parties once a car was purchased, there is now at least the potential for significant ongoing communication.

“Traditionally, independent dealerships have acted as proxies between the consumer and the car manufacturer,” writes Yoram Berholtz, director of market adoption at Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) provider Red Bend Software.

“The relationship with the consumer is begun with the dealership during the car buying process and is maintained with the dealership through the warranty period. As a result, the consumer has almost no communication with the manufacturer unless there is a recall, resulting in a negative experience for the consumer and a weakened relationship with the manufacturer.”

Connectivity provides an opportunity to change this dynamic and create a strong(er) manufacturer-customer relationship. Berholtz notes that manufacturers can use wireless channels for software updates the improve performance and/or offer new in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) features.

“How this new relationship with the consumer is utilized can change the game for OEMs and how they monetize lifetime customer relationships. New software-driven business models are now possible.”

Berholtz adds, “The same wireless connectivity used for the infotainment system can be leveraged to remotely manage ECU (electronic control unit) software over the air, and can even reduce by half the time needed to reflash ECUs over the CAN (controller area network) bus.”

The challenge for automakers is learning how to manage the connected car and its software systems. Berholtz says what’s needed is software management technology – software to manage software – both inside the car and at a back-end site.

Red Bend deploys a Type-1 hypervisor to isolate safety-critical software from non-critical systems. The hypervisor can run multiple operating systems simultaneously, in different virtual machines, on the same hardware platform.

Berholtz asserts, “The key for the next-generation multiservice IVI system is to have a dedicated OS for driver-assistance services, another for infotainment and a third for consumer-downloaded applications. Virtualization can achieve this efficiently and reliably and without compromising security or performance.

He concludes, “By moving beyond the connected car to the “managed car,” the automotive industry can manage the car’s software experience to become a key differentiator and strategic enabler.”

For more from Berholtz and Red Bend on managing connected cars, visit

in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), Red Bend Software, Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA), wireless connectivity

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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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