Allen Park — Delphi and some of its technology partners are offering the auto industry what they say is the opportunity to catch up with Tesla in delivering over-the-air software updates.
The ability for vehicles to receive software fixes and patches remotely is important as vehicles become increasingly connected and collect more data. It’s an area where electric vehicle-maker Tesla has been ahead of the curve.
Delphi and friends are targeting carmakers on two fronts: Providing state-of-the-art technology for vehicles that will be produced in the coming years, and supplying equipment to connect older and less advanced vehicles.
“We can scale this up or down to whatever model you want to start with, and we’ll walk toward the future with you,” Mary Gustanski, Delphi’s vice president of engineering and program management, said in a meeting with members of the automotive press Thursday.
Carmakers and the industry stand to benefit from expanded use of over-the-air and connected technology. As an example, Delphi officials said feedback from vehicles allows manufacturers to identify troublesome patterns earlier and could reduce the costs of recalls.
In January, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that major over-the-air upgrades wold be made “every 12-18 months” on the company’s vehicles.
Data collection, or “big data” as it’s commonly referred to, has been identified as one of the largest potential new ways of making money. In October, research firm McKinsey & Co. estimated “the global revenue pool from car-data monetization could be as high as $750 billion by 2030.”
In many cases, carmakers are hindered from adopting the latest technology because it is incompatible with vehicle architecture that is often locked in place years ahead of time. In such cases, devices commonly known as “dongles” can plug into the brains of cars to receive and send information. The devices, often no bigger than a garage-door remote control, are often used to collect data for insurance companies.
The Delphi dongle, already being used by 50,000 customers in the Delphi Connect program, has a built-in modem connecting it to the internet “cloud.”
Dave Ploucha, president of Delphi partner Control-Tec, said, “Up to six networks are supported on this device. So its a full-blown data-logger in my pocket.”
Earlier this month, Delphi announced a series of acquisitions and partnerships. All were conceived to help the company collect, organize and sell data from cars.
■Valens, based in Israel, specializes in high-speed semi-conductors, or “chip-to-chip” technology producing connectivity speeds six times faster than the current industry standard.
■Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik GmbH & Co., based in Germany, specializes in data transmission and ethernet connectors.
■Otonomo, based in Israel, develops marketplaces for data.
Delphi purchased minority stakes in both Valens and Otonomo, and has struck a strategic partnership with Rosenberger.
The short version of Delphi’s strategy with its new partners is to harness the information vehicles can collect, move it as quickly as possible and put it into a format that can be sold. Delphi officials said this kind of data sharing can lead to personalized services for drivers.
In 2015, Delphi acquired data analytics company Control-Tec, and earlier this year, Delphi acquired Plymouth-based Movimento, which specializes in software for over-the-air services.