Tesla has already introduced over 75 features via OTA. REUTERS/ROBERT GALBRAITH
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As cars increasingly resemble digital devices, a group of technology firms that can send wireless software updates to cars are in hot demand by carmakers scrambling to catch up to Tesla Motors in the arena of over-the-air updates, or OTAs. Interest in the technology, through which certain car functions can be upgraded much the same way as an iPhone, comes as Tesla is set to deliver an OTA for hands-free cruise control this month, allowing its electric Model S sedans to drive themselves on freeways.Some big carmakers, including GM, BMW and Mercedes, are already using OTA updates, but mostly for their entertainment systems. Mahbubul Alam, chief technology officer of Michigan-based global OTA firm Movimento, predicted that in three years nearly all carmakers will have some kind of OTA capability.As much a tech company as an automaker, 12-year-old Tesla is free of the constraints its rivals face – complicated combustion engines, huge model ranges, four-year development cycles and a reliance on car dealerships.
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