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GM to launch OTA vehicle updates by 2020

by Drew Johnson

GM will soon embrace OTA vehicle updates.

General Motors announced on Thursday plans to introduce a new electrical vehicle architecture that will allow for over-the-air software updates. GM plans to have the system in place before the end of the decade.

"We are in the process of deploying a new electrical architecture, which is a pretty comprehensive undertaking, and that's well under way ... as well as a whole new generation of infotainment systems,” GM CEO Mary Bara said during a conference call. "You'll see us have that capability as we move forward.”

GM spokesman Vijay Iyer confirmed to Automotive News that the company was exploring opportunities to "upgrade vehicles post-purchase to create more value to our existing customers.”

Over-the-air, or OTA for short, updates would allow GM to issue software updates for things like infotainment and mapping remotely. OTA updates would cut down on required trips to the dealer for owners and could save GM millions of dollars in the process. GM currently has the ability to update its OnStar vehicle telematics system remotely, but not other in-vehicle technologies.

Although a new concept for GM, other companies have been using OTA updates for years. Tesla was an early pioneer of the technology with its Model S sedan. Ford has also used the system to update some of its older infotainment systems.

Bara didn't say exactly when GM's OTA-capable vehicles would land in showrooms, but she said it'll be "before 2020.”

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