Over-the-air (OTA) transmissions

Expert Voices

As more cars update themselves, the convenience could bring risks

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.

The hidden risks of remote software updates

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

To get a car with the latest automated driving features all it takes in some cases is a couple of software updates — a growing trend with potential safety and cybersecurity risks.

Why it matters: Using a built-in wireless connection to fix a bug or add new functions can be a welcome convenience that can also prompt people to make needed repairs. But if it means instantly handing over more of the driving task to your vehicle, you could be putting yourself at risk if the new software is glitchy or you don't understand and misuse the car's new capabilities.