Volvo Cars is rolling out its first ever over-the-air (OTA) software update on the XC40 Recharge, the company’s first fully electric car. Starting soon, XC40 Recharge drivers in Europe will receive a range of updates, including new features and improvements to the car’s infotainment and propulsion systems. The introduction of OTA updates means that customers no longer have to visit a workshop in order to enjoy the latest software and new, updated features on their electric Volvo.
It also means that a new Volvo is no longer at its finest when it leaves the factory, but keeps improving over time as additional OTA updates are launched. “The benefits of over-the-air updates are obvious,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “Yesterday, you still had to drive to the workshop to get the latest updates to your car; today, you simply click OK and your electric Volvo takes care of the rest. It couldn’t be easier.”
Features included in this latest software update are a new base software for the car’s main electronic systems, an increase in charging speed and an improved driving range. There are updates to the Android Automotive operating system that powers the car’s infotainment system, too. The software package also includes updates to a variety of items such as Bluetooth connectivity, climate timers, the car’s digital owner’s manual and the 360-degree camera. The update is available automatically and XC40 Recharge drivers only have to accept the download and installation.
It takes less than five seconds for a hacker to compromise a standard keyless vehicle entry system. Among experts,this is known as a relay station attack. A Bosch key app is going to change all that. “Our Perfectly Keyless system revolutionizes keyless entry systems. It is the ‘key’ to preventing digital car theft,” says Harald Kröger, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division. The special thing about the solution is that the Bosch technology works with a virtual key stored in the smartphone.Sensors installed in the car recognize the owner’s smartphone as securely as a fingerprint and open the vehicle only for them. Digital key management links the app and the vehicle via the cloud. With Perfectly Keyless, Bosch is thus doing something that no other keyless entry system has done before, namely offering both convenience and security. The new smartphone-based key can be used in cars, entire car-sharing fleets, and commercial vehicles. Bosch believes this system with its built-in security lock has huge market potential worldwide.
Bosch revolutionizes keyless entry
With conventional keyless entry systems,the car key still needs to be carried in a jacket or suit pocket, for example.To open the door and start the engine, it communicates with the car using a radio signal in the low frequency (LF) or ultra high frequency (UHF) range. In the race against thieves, the automotive industry is constantly refining existing systems. It’s like a marathon. “Now, with Perfectly Keyless, Bosch is launching into a sprint in the development of digital vehicle entry systems.Our motto is revolution, not evolution,” Kröger says. Instead of transmitting data via low or high frequency radio technology, the Bosch system uses the smartphone as virtual key and Bluetooth as the transmission technology. This means that the car key can stay at home. And thanks to its decades of experience in semiconductors, Bosch is in a position to make this connection as secure as a fingerprint. Every smartphone contains tiny microchips to manage communication via Bluetooth, and these play a key role in the Bosch solution.Together with sensors installed in the vehicle and a special control unit, they form a system that opens the door only for the smartphone containing the virtual key that fits in the Perfectly Keyless system’s digital lock. The system blocks signals from other smartphones or from electronic devices that manipulate the radio transmission. In this way, Perfectly Keyless protects against unauthorized access.
A keyless journey
Virtual vehicle keys on smartphones have long been a feature of car-sharing fleets. These vehicles don’t move until their operator authorizes entry via the cloud; only then can a user unlock the vehicle, start it, and lock it again using an app. This conversation between the phone and the vehicle uses near-field communication (NFC), a wireless protocol for sharing data over distances of a few centimeters. For this to work,users must take out their smartphone before each journey and hold it up to a marked area on the vehicle. Only then can the system recognize the user and unlock the doors. With Bosch Perfectly Keyless, the smartphone can also stay in its pocket. This means greater ease of use for drivers, and car sharing users benefit from the added convenience. The Bosch solution also works in trucks and for entire fleets of commercial vehicles. That means no more manual administration of vehicle keys, physical handover, or hassle when a key is lostor stolen. If the smartphone is lost or stolen, and the Perfectly Keyless app with it, the digital key can be simply deactivated online, thus blocking access to the vehicle.