A new automotive initiative called the eSync Alliance has been led and unveiled by Excelfore, a provider of smart mobility networks. The global initiative aims to drive multi-company solutions for over-the-air (OTA) updates and data diagnostics in the automotive electronics ecosystem.

The eSync Alliance consists of automotive suppliers working cooperatively to provide eSync Compliant components. Designed to support full vehicle OTA solutions as well as vehicle diagnostics and telematics data management with end-to-end security, the eSync Alliance will reportedly reduce the time and risks of developing and deploying fully connected cars.

“The automotive industry has a history of multi-vendor initiatives which often drive the emergence of de facto standards,” said Greg Basich, associate director, Automotive Service at market research firm Strategy Analytics. “OEMs are actively looking for ways to facilitate the integration of devices from multiple vendors for their connected car solutions. The eSync Alliance is the first such initiative in the automotive OTA and diagnostics space,” he added.

Modern cars now incorporate dozens if not hundreds of software-driven sensors and controllers. The increasing need for automakers to be able to update software over-the-air for feature improvements, recall avoidance, and security patches is well established.

To date, however, only a small number of proprietary solutions serve the automotive market. The eSync Alliance specifically addresses this by creating a community of companies that cooperate to provide standardised and interoperable OTA and diagnostic-data solutions.

“The eSync Alliance allows companies across the automotive value chain to offer OTA-capable products. A common mechanism for cloud connectivity among many innovative companies means OEMs are no longer limited to proprietary single-vendor solutions,” Shrinath Acharya, Excelfore CEO explained. “That’s crucial because OTA support has increasingly become mandatory for automakers, driven primarily by the explosion of infotainment, automated driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies.”

eSync Alliance members will be able to brand their solutions as eSync Compliant if they meet the programme requirements, which include criteria for conformance to application program interfaces (APIs) and specific features.

The eSync Compliant mark will ensure a common OTA data path reaching all the different electronic devices in the car, streamlining integration and testing efforts. The eSync Compliance program provides not only the path to push software updates to the devices in the car, but also to pull diagnostic data from those devices in the car.

eSync Alliance members

Several automotive suppliers have already joined the eSync Alliance, with more expressing interest in becoming members.

Among them, Yasuhiro Ikeunchi, director of Product Design at Alpine, said, “This is an opportunity to drive innovation in connected car platforms. Participating in the eSync Alliance gives us a structure for OTA and diagnostics compatibility with ECU and sensor vendors across the automotive electronics ecosystem.”

“The members of the eSync Alliance bring common solutions for connected vehicle technology to automotive OEMs,” said Bill Fitzer, vice president and general manager, Connected Mobility Solutions at Molex, another member. “Working together, this multi-company initiative expands connected car functionality while reducing development time and risk.”

Single OTA update for different vehicles

Excelfore also recently demonstrated for the first time how a single OTA update can reach similar ECUs in different vehicles.  In this case, with two distinct and dissimilar networks on display, a single OTA will reach the same model ECU in both in-vehicle environments.

According to the company, this capability means that auto makers can easily manage the distribution of new software updates across their entire fleet of models, addressing vehicles with differing network configurations and operating systems. This reduces complexity, thereby making it easier to complete the update quickly.

The eSync solution provides secure transactions with the vehicle, and with the various devices within the vehicle.  It can be used to deliver and update software and firmware over the air, helping avoid the need for costly vehicle recalls, as well as for pulling diagnostics and telematics data from the devices in the vehicle.

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