All Volkswagen ID models are now able to receive regular over the air (OTA) software updates through mobile data transfers, the automaker said.
The move brings the automaker one step closer to Tesla-like levels of upgrade capabilities in its growing family of full-electric models.
The updates had previously only been available as part of a test phase for customers who had registered with the ID First Movers Club but are now free for all owners of the ID3, ID4 and ID4 GTX.
Software 2.3 update provides customers with optimized surroundings recognition and a more intuitive operability of the infotainment system.
Some of the new functions affect the ID Light, a light strip at the bottom of the windshield, which now gives the driver information on how to save energy while on the road.
It also alerts drivers to the adaptive cruise control automatic distance control system.
Image processing has also been improved for the multifunction camera, allowing it to recognize motorcycles and other road users more quickly. The upgrade also applies when driving in the dark.
The dynamic main beam control function, if installed, allows for more precise headlight regulation.
Meanwhile, the update has made the graphics on the central infotainment display “calmer and clearer,” with more intuitive operation, which the company said demonstrates how it is responding to feedback from the first ID customers.
“The new updates are a central functionality of the digital, connected car. They will quickly become normal for our customers, in the same way as they have for their smartphones,” VW Group Board Member for Technical Development Thomas Ulbrich said in a statement. “Software development is iterative and fast. We work in short cycles, like a tech company, and provide updates to our customers at correspondingly short intervals.”
In the future, VW plans to provide its customers with free software about every three months to keep the vehicles up to date and improve the customer experience.
OTA updates are seen as a central functionality of the digital, connected car and soon to be an expected feature for customers, the same way users download operating system upgrades or apps on smartphones.
They are also a potential major revenue generation for automakers. In June, VW brand’s sales chief Klaus Zellmer said he sees the potential for “triple-digit-millions” in sales through OTA upgrades.
The OTA updates are being developed in collaboration with Cariad, VW Group’s software company, and are also designed to help VW stay in touch with its customers after selling or leasing the car, by providing additional digital services.
“Vehicles that always have the latest software on board can provide an excellent digital customer experience and are therefore of the utmost importance for our future success,” Ulbrich’s statement continued. “Thanks to regular updates, the car will not just remain up-to-date — it will become even better.”