GM’s new "digital nerve system" will enable over-the-air software updates on all vehicles.

General Motors unveiled a new electronic platform for its vehicles on Monday that is designed to handle the heavy data loads that will be increasingly necessary as cars become smarter and more autonomous. This new "digital nervous system" will allow smart phone-type software updates on all GM vehicles over the next four years, said Mark Reuss, president of GM.

The new platform will make its debut in the recently introduced Cadillac CT5 2020 sedan. After that, it will go into production later this year and should be extended to most vehicles within the GM line by 2023.

"It's a true digital nerve system that will provide the future of connectivity, autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. "Reuss said in an interview with The Verge .


gms new digital nerve system will enable over the air software updates on all vehicles

Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

The old automakers have struggled to catch up with Tesla, that has long been the leader in sending updates by air (OTA) to its customers to change everything from its autopilot controller to the design assistance system and appearance of its touch screen interfaces. Samsung, for example, can update or repair the software on a smartphone.

GM would be the first major automaker to implement an OTA system after Tesla. rd also said it would start implementing software updates for its 2020 models.

In the past, GM said that matching this system would require returning to completely wire the electrical wiring of their vehicles to ensure that these updates were safe. manipulation Now, after five years of research and development with 300 engineers and more than 100 patents, the car giant is ready to deploy its new platform.

The new architecture will be able to handle 4.5 terabytes of data per hour, or roughly five times the load of what GM cars can handle today. "That's about 500 movies," Reuss said. But it will not be the movies that the cars will need to process, but large amounts of sensor data, including camera images, LIDAR input and real-time traffic and road conditions from the municipal partners. This applies to both the automatic cars with their expensive sensor suites and the currently available production cars, such as the advanced Cadillac Super Cruise driver assistance system.

"That pipeline has to be pretty strong," Reuss said between bites of ravioli at an Italian restaurant in the West Village. "Because you want speed. You know, you're driving a car. "


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Image: GM

Cars that drive cars are still years away, if not decades, far from becoming common, but GM sees short-term gains with this new platform The software updates over the air will allow the automaker to repair engine malfunctions, improve fuel economy, adjust the quality of the address and alter almost all the characteristics of a vehicle, possibly including updates to standards of safety that will take effect years after the manufacture of the vehicle.

In general, car dealers distrust OTA updates for fear of being removed from the lucrative service and maintenance process. car with an OTA update, you do not need to take it to the dealership so often. us money for them.

Reuss believes that GM distributors will eventually benefit from this new digital architecture because it will allow them to focus on the elements of their business that are most important. Grantees could also save some money by complying with the basic guarantee and repair claims with lower overhead costs, completing the work over the airwaves

"This takes you to a completely different place where we can do safety things with a lot of We can make improvements, basically, we can offer you a new shopping experience and a vehicle at any time we want repeatedly, "he said. "So the ownership model becomes very good."

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