Car software upgrades continue for Stellantis, Volvo, and Polestar

21 April 2022

car software

Stellantis has signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qualcomm Technologies to use the Snapdragon Digital Chassis. Beginning in 2024, models across the 14-brand stable will have access to a greater suite of customisable and intelligent in-vehicle experiences.

Elsewhere, Volvo and Polestar have both confirmed upgraded over the air (OTA) capabilities. Every new Volvo car now supports wireless upgrade technology, helping improve infotainment and energy management systems.

As cars become increasingly digitised, automotive companies are investing more in software. A strong digital framework can support many different models across different brands. This can unlock greater vehicle longevity, with OTA updates keeping features updated and optimised.

Stellantis’ car software strategy

Working with Qualcomm, Stellantis will be able to leverage the Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms and 5G capabilities for telematics systems. This will allow the carmaker to keep pace with evolving consumer demands for personalised and upgradable automotive technology. Furthermore, it will allow the 14-brand giant to merge all software domains into high-performance computers.

‘Our technology collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies is another example of how we are identifying industry leaders to work alongside our passionate and talented internal teams as we transform our vehicles through a software-defined approach. This will ultimately better meet the needs of our customers’ lifestyles through safe, personalised, and always-connected features,’ said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO.

Qualcomm’s technology will power in-car communication and infotainment systems for Stellantis’ STLA SmartCockpit, which is being designed and engineered with Amazon and Foxconn. The Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms mean high-definition graphics for touch and voice-controlled consoles, as well as an immersive onboard experience.

The new technology will also advance the STLA Brain, bringing new levels of digital intelligence for convenience and safety. In-car personal assistance capabilities will see a boost with intuitive artificial intelligence features. This looks to include OTA updates, features on-demand, and instant-access upgrades, such as additional horsepower or drive modes.

Extended car software reach

Volvo XC90, S60 and V60OTA models now also support OTA capabilities. This means the company’s entire portfolio can receive an operating system (OS) update over the air. This month, the carmaker unleashed its eighth complete car update, reaching more than 190,000 models worldwide.

This boosted the infotainment system to a newer version of Android Automotive OS, Android 11. There is now access to new Google Play app categories, including navigation, charging, and parking. Video streaming is expected to arrive later in the year.

However, not all the updates centred around the central console and infotainment system. The latest update means better energy management through improved climate timers. So, the right battery temperatures can be held throughout cold and hot weather. This allows for greater electric range, as well as battery pre-heating for shorter charging times.

‘By making all Volvo models able to receive over-the-air updates, we make important progress towards our ambition of making our customers’ cars better every day,’ said Henrik Green, chief product officer at Volvo Cars. ‘This is a significant milestone: we’re now updating cars of all models in a majority of our markets, bringing the benefits of remote continuous updates to an ever-increasing number of customers.’

Polestar’s latest OTA upgrade also equips Android 11 (also known as Android R) to the infotainment OS in the Polestar 2. The new software brings with it enhanced app and functionality potential for the future. A total of 10 major OTA releases have rolled, supplying close to 100 improvements since the launch of remote updating of the Polestar 2. Recent enhancements have focused on drivetrain optimisations, preferred charge time scheduling, digital key improvements, an eco-climate mode to improve real-world range, and battery optimisation with preconditioning.

‘Software technology in our cars should not be much different from how the latest software is pushed out on smartphones in everyday life,’ said Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath. ‘With OTA updates, our customers receive constant enhancements without making a trip to a workshop. We’re very encouraged by the positive response as seen from the exceptional growth in the number of OTA installations and will continue to deliver ongoing enhancements.’