OTA reflashing the challenges and solutions

Reprogrammable onboard modules have been in automotive use for more than a quarter century. But as electronic controls inhabit virtually every system today, anyone with a late-model vehicle knows that at some point, one or more of its electronic control systems will need to be “reflashed” with new software—often more than once.

In fact, even where the problem may be all-mechanical, including bearing knock, it can be ameliorated by new software for the engine computer.

While some of the reflashes are for customer satisfaction items, such as the air conditioning system that won’t maintain set temperature, an increasing number are safety related. At best, perhaps 70% of the urgent notifications  of a safety recall bring the customer into the dealership, and both government and industry are looking  for ways to bring  it as close to 100% as possible.

With autonomous driving on the horizon, the security and safety aspects create a new urgency for the ability to perform updates on a timeline that doesn’t wait for the leisurely pace of a service appointment at the dealership.

Tesla success with OTA

Tesla’s recent use of over-the-air (OTA)

Alfa Romeo finally returns to U.S. with 4C

After twenty years of absence and many delays, Alfa Romeo is finally coming back to the U.S., and the company is packing for the long haul. After the very-low-volume and very-high-end 8C, the Italian automotive manufacturer is officially returning with a two-seat, mid-engine sports car that can only be called a raw, untainted performance machine—or the 4C, depending on how poetic you want to be.

Alfa Romeo’s return has been nothing but poetic, with a series of broken promises and broken hearts for the brand-loyal fans here in the U.S. This time its official, as Alfa has signed with 82 dealerships across the U.S. to sell the new sports car. Three of the dealerships will be sharing showroom space with Maserati (in California, Maryland, and Wisconsin), while the rest of the 79 will be run alongside Fiat dealerships.

For those who have worked on bringing the car to the U.S. market, it means a lot. Michael Berube, Head of Product Planning for Alfa Romeo, is excited about the manufacturer’s return. “It’s not just any brand,” Berube said proudly. “Alfa Romeo is one of the oldest brands still in

Automotive industry unit in Tihar to be run by inmates

or the first time in the history of Indian automotive industry, a manufacturing unit has been set up inside a jail premises where work will be carried out by prison inmates.

The Director General of Delhi prisons, Alok Verma, today inaugurated the small scale automotive workshop in Jail number 2 of Tihar here, under a public-private partnership providing training and employment opportunities for the inmates.

The manufacturing unit has been set up by Minda Furukawa Electric Pvt. Ltd (MFE), a joint venture company between Spark Minda, Ashok Minda Group of India and Furukawa of Japan.

The company develops and produces the entire range of wiring harness for four wheelers, and components related to wiring harness.

“The inmates will profit in both long term and short term working here. They will be paid wages and will gain work experience which will be useful for them to rehabilitate themselves after completing their terms here,” Delhi prisons DIG and PRO Mukesh Prasad said.

The inmates working here will be supervised by professionals and will earn more wages in comparison to other inmates working in the jail.