Delphi working on Tesla-like updates for past and future cars

According to Bloomberg, automotive parts supplier Delphi is working on technology that would bring Tesla-like over-the-air software updates to cars going back as far as 2010. If all goes as planned, the technology would also be installed in new vehicles as soon as 2020. The updates could affect systems such as the ECU, braking controls, and infotainment systems. Delphi says reducing the number of dealership visits has the potential to greatly reduce ownership and maintenance costs.

Since the release of the Tesla Model S, the automaker has been providing occasional wireless updates that can be applied overnight while the vehicle is parked, similar to updates on your smartphone. While not everything can be fixed over the air, Tesla has implemented features like Autopilot through these wireless updates. Delphi hopes to provide the same level of service to a variety of automakers.

While reduced warranty and maintenance costs might be good for owners and automakers, dealerships that depend on regular visits may not be so keen on these changes. Delphi says that data-driven coupons for things like oil changes and tire rotations could provide customer incentive to actually visit the shop. Also, hardware fixes obviously can't be mended with a simple software update.

Over the past few years, Delphi has acquired a number of startups that specialize in the technology to provide over-the-air updates. An aftermarket solution would provide the capability to cars going back until 2010 while manufacturer cooperation would install the tech in future products. Automakers like General Motors, BMW, and Daimler are already investigating the technology, so it's only a matter of time before it becomes a common feature.

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