Updates from Space: Continental and Inmarsat cooperate for holistic vehicle connectivity

  • Industry News
  • Jan 06,17
Updates from Space: Continental and Inmarsat cooperate for holistic vehicle connectivity

Las Vegas, January 3, 2017. Step by step the vehicle is becoming part of the Internet of Everything, interfacing with an ever expanding spectrum of vehicle manufacturer and commercial services while continuously increasing owner value with every passing year. As a consequence the software in modern vehicles has grown to millions of lines of ever-evolving code. Keeping this highly complex system of software, mechatronics and electronics up-to-date or even installing new software functions post sale has up to now involved a trip to the auto repair shop in most cases.

The international technology company Continental has helped vehicle manufacturers solve this problem with over-the-air updates for more than ten years and is today shipping various products capable of being updated over-the-air to different vehicle manufacturers. Now Continental is expanding its portfolio to enable updates of electronic control units across the entire vehicle from powertrain to infotainment systems. Together with the mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat, Continental is demonstrating its capabilities at the International Consumer Electronics Show (January 5th-8th, Las Vegas Nevada).

“Until recently the number of electronic control units in the vehicle connected directly or indirectly to the cloud has been extremely limited and the demand for updates was low. But uploading new functions, greater system complexity as well as the high need for security and safety has created a strong need for over-the-air updates.” says Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board at Continental and head of the Interior Division. “Continental and Inmarsat are now setting out to enable over-the-air updates around the globe for the entire vehicle electronics over Inmarsat's satellite network at the simple push of a button.”

Together with Inmarsat, the industry leader in global, mobile satellite communications, Continental will be able to deliver over-the-air updates across the globe through a single network. The growing number of connected vehicles worldwide are driving an increased frequency of updates that demand a scalable, global solution. Inmarsat operates multiple geostationary satellite constellations that provide a two-way data connection combined with a global broadcast capability to enable rapid, responsive and efficient over-the-air updates to vehicles everywhere. This will allow Continental’s customers to deploy worldwide update campaigns at the push of a button, bypassing the complexity of dealing with multiple mobile network operators. The cooperation between the companies will also enable vehicles to leverage intelligent routing over satellite and terrestrial wireless (mobile, WiFi) networks to achieve the best quality of service, least cost, and highest availability.

“Satellite broadcast services will be a key enabler of the connected car, offering the most efficient and secure means to deliver common content to millions of vehicles; from software and cybersecurity updates to precise positioning data,” says Greg Ewert, President, Connected Car Program, Inmarsat. “Combined with a two-way data network to acknowledge receipt and installation of updates, Inmarsat’s global network brings an unparalleled capability to this important market.”

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