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Volvo Group is first in the heavy-duty vehicle industry to offer customers remote software updates of vehicle components and systems. The engineers behind this solution receive this year’s Volvo Technology Award.

Many functions in a modern vehicle are depending on advanced software. New hardware takes a rather long time to develop and introduce, but with software the company can offer customers new and improved functionality more regularly.

With mobile phones and the entertainment system in vehicles, remote software update is rather standard today. This is however not the case when it comes to software for engines or other vehicle functions. For this, customers must visit a workshop for downloading. Even though the programming process only takes about 30 minutes, for many customers this means that the vehicle is off duty for a day or two because of logistical reasons. Until now.

Download new software

For many Volvo Group customers it is now possible for the driver to download new software whenever the vehicle is stationary, thanks to remote programming. It could be new engine software to lower the fuel consumption or a legal setting of the speed limiter, when crossing a border.

The challenge for the engineers was that the electronic architecture and back-end system was not initially designed with remote programming capabilities in mind. The winners of Volvo Technology Award had to come up with new and clever ideas to find ways around this.

“The winners have not only shown their innovation skills but also their endurance”, says Lars Stenqvist, CTO Volvo Group. “There were many dead ends, but they just continued until they found a solution.”

Cross-functional work

One reason for the success is the cross-functional work. Vehicle components and systems experts worked closely together with the experts in the back-end systems, with the connectivity solutions.

A third group of experts that was also heavily involved are colleagues working close to the customers. Their input on customer needs and how they prefer to handle the downloading was crucial in this project.

“For our customers, uptime is the most important element. Thanks to this award-winning technology, many of our customers can now benefit from increased uptime while keeping important software up to date instead of spending time in workshops just for updating of software.”

“This is taking Volvo Group to a new level and is opening up for a new way of thinking with continuous deployment of software”, concludes Lars Stenqvist.

These are the winners:

Adenir Silva, Andreas Örnerfeldt, Björn Jonsson, Christofer Nilsson, Daniel Björkbacke, Divya Dayal, Göran Hellström, Henrik Klevljung,Joakim Ohlsson, Joakim Pauli, Johanna Karlsson, Johanna Utbult, Jonatan Gäskeby-Mars, Kostas Papadopoulos, Lotta Sjösten,Magnus Hultin, Marty Foulks, Mats Tobiasson, Ola Romberg, Rick Randall, Walter Lossio.