An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica, written by Jonathan M. Gitlin: A perennial question that has accompanied the spread of Android Automotive has been the question of support. A car has a much longer expected service life than a smartphone, especially an Android smartphone, and with infotainment systems so integral to a car’s operations now, how long can we reasonably expect those infotainment systems to be supported? I got the chance to put this question to Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of CARIAD, Volkswagen Group’s software division: Given the much longer service life of a car compared to a smartphone, how does VW plan to keep those cars patched and safe 10 or 15 years from now?
“We actually have a contract with the brands, which took a while to negotiate, but lifetime support was utterly important,” Hilgenberg told me. The follow-up was obvious: How long is “lifetime”? “Fifteen years after service, and an extra option for brands who would like to have it even longer; you know, we have to guarantee updatability on all legal aspects,” he said. “So that’s why we are, as you can imagine, very cautious with branches of releases because every branch we need to maintain over this long time. So when you have end of operation and EOP [end of production] and it’s 15 years longer, we still have to maintain that; plus, some brands actually said ‘because my vehicle is a unicorn, it’s something that people want even more, they only occasionally drive it but they want to be safe,'” Hilgenberg told me.
(The unicorn reference should make sense in the context of VW Group owning Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche, whose cars are often collected and can be on the road for many decades.) In those cases, CARIAD would provide continued support, Hilgenberg said. “Especially as cybersecurity, all the legal things are concerned, you see that already. Now we do upgrades and releases, whether it’s in China, whether it’s in the US, whether it’s in Europe, we take very cautious steps. Security and safety has, in the Volkswagen group, you know, the utmost importance, and we see it actually as an opportunity to differentiate,” he said. In an update to the article, Ars said CARIAD got in touch with them to add some clarifications. “As part of its development services to Volkswagen’s automotive brands, CARIAD provides operational services, updates, upgrades and new releases as well as bug fixes and patches relating to its hardware- and software-products. We usually support our hard- and software releases for extended periods of time. In some cases this can be up to 15 years after the end of production (‘EOP’) for hardware and 10 years after EOP for software releases. Moreover, there are legally mandatory periods we comply with, e.g. cybersecurity as well as safety updates and patches are provided for as long as a function is available. In addition, there may be individual agreements with brands for longer support periods to specifically satisfy their customers’ needs,” wrote a CARIAD spokesperson.
Ars notes: “there’s no guarantee that OEMs can make the business model work for this long-term support.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – VW Will Support Software Products For Up To 15 Years