Friedrichshafen, Germany/Fremont, California. ZF has joined the eSync Alliance, a multi-vendor initiative for Over-the-Air (OTA) update and diagnostic data solutions that could potentially save the automotive industry billions of dollars each year.
As vehicles are being prepared for the digitalized future, outfitted with sophisticated, automated features with autonomous functions looming on the horizon, up-to-date software is crucial in ensuring road safety, cybersecurity and efficiency. However, returning vehicles to a manufacturer’s dealership or a repair shop to install the newest software is cumbersome and costly, especially for fleet operators. Estimates by analysts place the expenditure for software recalls at $3 billion in 2016 in the U.S. alone.
Over-the-Air (OTA) updates help to minimize this expense by transmitting newer software versions directly from the cloud into the vehicle via a data connection and with no waiting time. The eSync Alliance, which ZF has now joined, is based around the eSync system, a platform combining both cloud and in-car components. The platform was originally developed by Excelfore to provide secure transactions with electronic end devices installed in vehicles. In addition, the system works as a shield against threats from outside the vehicle.
It also provides a two-way communication enabling software and firmware updates over-the-air, and collection of real-time diagnostics and telematics data from end devices in the vehicle.
A unified standard
There are currently many OTA systems competing in the market, each with specific update mechanisms. The eSync system aims to establish a unified standard. By taking part in the Alliance, companies benefit from a simplified development environment enabled by a customizable, scalable open platform with standardized features and APIs (Application Programming Interface).
“The eSync Alliance is leading the way in OTA technology and advanced diagnostics, providing a framework for its member companies to benefit from standardized and interoperable OTA components,” said Franck Lesbroussart, head of advanced digital software development at ZF. “ZF will take an active part in the Alliance, and by working together with our new partners, we can advance the industry as a whole.”
“ZF is a leading worldwide supplier of automotive components and systems,” said Rick Kreifeldt, executive director at the eSync Alliance. “I’m delighted to welcome them to the eSync Alliance. They provide scale and expertise to help drive the development of a common platform for OTA technology, and its broad adoption across the automotive sector.”
For ZF, the open and secure eSync platform also provides opportunities for their extensive portfolio of non-automotive products, such as rail, marine and other industrial transmissions.