Volvo Rolls Out OTA Updates In Malaysia - How Does It Improve Your Car?


Volvo Rolls Out OTA Updates In Malaysia - How Does It Improve Your Car?

Volvo Car Malaysia recently announced that all the latest Volvo models will be available with over-the-air (OTA) software update capabilities for Malaysia. 

The latest software update was distributed to more than 190,000 Volvo customers in 34 markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

The OTA capability is available on the latest XC90, S60 and V60 models after being introduced as standard on Volvo Cars electric vehicle models.

What is OTA?

Volvo Over the air update

An over-the-air (OTA) update is the wireless delivery of new software, firmware, or other data to vehicles. Similar to smartphone updates, you don't have to have any additional devices or technicians to get you updated with the latest car software systems.

So what does the newest OTA update bring to the car?

Volvo OTA Malaysia

With this eighth operating system update, Volvo owners can upgrade their infotainment system to the latest version of the Android Automotive OS and gain access to the latest app categories in Google Play, including navigation, charging and parking systems, and not miss the upcoming video streaming service due this year. Worth bearing in mind though that the previous Sensus system cannot be upgraded to the Android Automotive OS system found in current Volvo's. 

For those with a Volvo EV, the latest OTA update also brings improvements in terms of better energy management that can increase the level of battery efficiency, especially during summer and winter, while maximising the driving distance.

Why is OTA necessary?

When we talked about the OTA system with David Holecek, Volvo's Director of Digital Experience, he explained that OTA is all about interaction, where Volvo can get shared information about the vehicle's status, which will lead to a more efficient update for the owner and car.

Volvo Malaysia software update

"OTA is very data-driven, and it can learn behaviours of drivers, which we can then modify the software based on their needs and wants. Because we can also evaluate the condition of the car, we can extend its lifetime by optimising its operating system", said David.

For those concerned about an OTA potentially immobilising your vehicle in the event of a failed update, David advised not to worry as they will first iron out any bugs. "We test a lot on our own fleet of cars, as well as company cars. So any issues will first be resolved before an OTA update is rolled out to our customers around the world.

Can an OTA be corrupted by lousy internet?

Malaysia bad internet

For those concerned about Malaysia's unpredictable internet speeds, which might interrupt an OTA download, the system should pick up where it last left off. "The Volvo system will continue the download from where it dropped off in case of a bad internet connection."

Will cars get frequent OTA updates like phones?

Seeing that OTA updates for many of us are more commonly seen on phones than cars, of course we had to ask the question of whether the vehicles will get frequently updated like phones and will a Volvo vehicle model become obsolete and thus no longer be supported via updates?

According to David, there is no definite set of OTA updates set per model as it is a process of researching, tweaking, and fine-tuning the operating systems in a Volvo as an owner grows together with their vehicle, more so with BEVs compared to ICEs. 

David also added that as software features become increasingly sophisticated, Volvo can foresee more frequent updates will be required in the future. By readying the OTA system now, Volvo is setting itself up for a trouble-free experience in the future. 

Can some features be activated or deactivated via OTA?

Volvo XC40 Recharge

We posed a question to David on autopilot due to recent events involving a Singaporean Tesla owner using the car's Autopilot feature in Malaysia. 

Question: Can Volvo activate or deactivate features of the vehicle via OTA if the customer requests for it, especially if certain features are banned in the home market of the customer but are allowed in neighbouring countries, similar to Malaysia - Singapore?
"Technically it should be possible, but we also want to maintain the ownership experience and driving experience of each customer to be as safe and pleasant as possible. Activating or deactivating features over OTA can be unsettling especially if the customer is not used to how said feature might operate or function in reality," answered David. 

Will all Volvo cars be covered by OTA updates?

Since Volvo's OTA deployment started being offered at the beginning of last year, Volvo Cars have been expanding the list of countries receiving OTA updates in the majority of Volvo's markets, and the company expects the volume of cars covered by such updates to grow with every new update.

Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler