Harman-Samsung Digital Cockpit
Image: Samsung

Great Wall Motors is to launch its first connected vehicle with a remote software updating service in 2019. The over-the-air (OTA) technology will be supplied by Harman, whose Remote Vehicle Updating Service has already been fitted in more than 25 million cars worldwide.

The Harman technology allows for full monitoring and control of updates by the automaker using any software on any operating system, and covers maps, content, configuration, applications, firmware and software, in devices from the smallest ECUs to head units.

“The Great Wall Motors vehicles we’ll see next year will showcase how advanced OTA solutions can ensure all vehicle software can be updated with the latest features and functions at any point during the lifecycle of the car,” said Sanjay Dhawan, CTO and head of Darman's connected services operations.

“OTA updates are an important layer of the Great Wall Motors connected car strategy and serve as a foundation for future-upgraded and next-generation vehicles,” added Yansong Guo, deputy director of Great Wall Motors’ technology center.

He said OTA updates are relatively complex to implement. "This is something we take seriously, because even a little R&D mistake may have serious consequences, like car disablement.”

Harman’s “mature Smart Delta technology”, which underpins the system and reduces the file update package by up to 99%, “can help our cars save bandwidth, improve the user experience, and shorten the time to market." Guo said. "I believe our partnership will greatly improve the service experience within our connected car.”

Digital Cockpit Platform, 5G and DRVLINE autonomous platform presented in Beijing

At the Beijing auto show last week, Harman – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. – showcased a further series of connected car solutions. These included the new Digital Cockpit Platform, a customizable suite supporting connected lifestyles and interactions with different HMIs, integrating the instrument cluster with the center console via voice controls, haptic feedback and physical controls and a single center screen.

Services and apps can be projected and personalized via a user’s smartphone, and increased IoT and cloud capability improves connectivity as well as lowering costs and vehicle weight. In the premium configuration, the Android OS can be integrated on four displays, and the UX can be further personalized through virtual assistants, gesture controls, portable profiles, AR and more; this also enables a familiar digital experience in shared or on-demand vehicles.

Harman announced in Beijing that, with Samsung, it is to deliver a 5G-ready modular telematics unit with a network access device, to support C-V2X (cellular vehicle-to-infrastructure) communications. It sees 5G as representing “a paradigm shift in the future of mobility”, and in a statement says that “5G boosts speeds up to 100x faster than current 4G LTE standards to provide incredibly fast high-resolution streaming, immersive virtual and augmented reality features and seamless cloud-based applications in fast-moving cars.”

The company also presented its open, modular DRVLINE platform for autonomous driving (Levels 3, 4 and 5) in Beijing, and talked about how it was leveraging the alliance with Samsung. “Together with Samsung, we have increased innovation speed through scale, resources and competencies to help automakers focus on the car’s evolution from device-centric to experience-centric,” said Harman president and CEO Dinesh Paliwal.

Phase II of the Harman Suzhou production and R&D facility – Harman’s largest in the Asia Pacific region – is now in operation, representing a goal of doubling of capacity and a $6.8million investment.

-Farah Alkhalisi