Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The next two years will see a dramatic increase in the number of vehicles capable of over-the-air software updates.

The big picture: OTA software updates are a convenient delivery method for rolling out new features and protecting increasingly sophisticated vehicles from safety and cyber threats — if the right security and logistics measures are in place.

Currently, routine vehicle software updates or changes can require a recall, which elevates the perceived severity of commonplace software maintenance and involves a time-consuming, costly installation by a certified dealer technician.

The impact:

What's needed: For automakers and car owners to successfully embrace OTA software updates, there will need to be encrypted software keys and other tools to implement effective safety and security measures. Functionally, some updates may need to be installed exclusively while the vehicle is not being operated.

Yes, but: Different updates will still likely require varying levels of driver and dealer intervention to complete.

  • For instance, cybersecurity updates should be automatic, whereas ADAS-related updates should require driver approval and training on any new features.
  • It could be possible to make any updates that impact vehicle operation active only after the driver views a training video, reads through a tutorial, or receives training from the dealer.
  • Unsuccessful or incompatible installs should automatically roll back to the prior version, ensuring continuity and safety.

What to watch: GM is launching a new OTA platform in 2020, FCA will offer OTA in all new vehicles by 2022, and Jaguar plans to expand its OTA rollout after successful tests with management cars.

Oren Betzaleli is an SVP at Harman, which develops OTA, cloud and cybersecurity systems for automakers, including FCA, Jaguar and others.

Go deeper

Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.