Ford Motor Company has offered its first “over-the-air” software update. The update gave owners of Sync 3-equipped 2016 Fords the ability to use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Owners could download the upgrade for free over Wi-Fi. The process is similar to how smartphone manufacturers like Apple provide software updates to customers. Electric carmaker Tesla introduced over-the-air updates to the automotive industry in 2015. The updates can be used to provide software upgrades and address potentially dangerous recall repairs at home instead of the dealership.
Automaker Nissan has unveiled a 19th century solution for distracted driving. The world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles recently introduced Signal Shield, an in-car cellphone compartment that blocks all cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals. Based on an 1830s invention called the Faraday cage that blocked electromagnetic fields, the prototype was built in an armrest of the company’s popular Nissan Juke. Phones kept in the Signal Shield compartment can still connect to the vehicle’s infotainment system via USB or auxiliary port if the driver wants to play music or podcasts. Drivers can restore connectivity by lifting the lid of the compartment.
What do you need to test self-driving cars on the streets of New York? For starters, a $5 million insurance policy. The Empire State recently announced requirements for a yearlong self-driving car pilot program. Manufacturers interested in testing self-driving cars and related technology must also provide a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles and pay the New York State Police to supervise each test. Testing must be done on a predesigned route and cannot be done in construction or school zones.