TechTalk Over The Air Software Update

Published on July 15th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Volvo Cars Over The Air Software Updates Explained

Over The Air Software Updates And How They Work In Cars.

So you keep hearing about these OTA updates but are not sure how it works? With Electric cars becoming wildly popular over the past few years, the world has seen a shift in how we approach cars in our daily life.

Gone are the days where the only in-car entertainment we had was a radio and we had to get our cars towed off or drive into a workshop as updates can be installed remotely.

Over The Air Software Update

These days in-car entertainment systems are so advanced, we even needed to coin a new term for it, infotainment systems. Two major examples are Tesla and Volvo, both brands which include infotainment systems so advanced that they require updates from time to time to ensure that the vehicle has access to new (even experimental in some cases) features as well as ensure better safety.

So to keep things simple, we will only be looking at how Over The Air (OTA) updates work in Volvo cars, specifically, the 2022 models for the Volvo XC 60 B5/ Volvo XC 60 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid, the Volvo XC 40 Recharge pure Electric and the Volvo S 90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid.

Much like how OTA updates work on a smartphone, an OTA update for a vehicle is done via a cloud-based server which the manufacturer runs.

Volvo Over The Air Software Update

This process begins with Volvo issuing a software update to the server which is then processed and stored to the cloud server and will then proceed to be downloaded while your vehicle is active (the infotainment screen is on) and this can even happen in the background while driving.

This is a feature called ‘automatic download of updates’ and Volvo recommends all users turn this on as missing an update could mean the driver is missing out on newer and more advanced features.

Once the update is downloaded, the system will prompt the driver to to install the update via a notification. The driver can then choose to schedule an installation time for later or install the update then and there.

Please note that for an update to be installed, the vehicle will need to be locked and cannot be used (the car needs to be stationary, so you can’t drive while installing an update), while installing the update and this could take up to 90 minutes.

Volvo also recommends that you do not plug in your hybrid vehicle to charge while updates are being installed.

BHP_Euro5 Diesel_2021_Lexus NX

After the update is installed a message will pop up on the infotainment screen letting you know your vehicle is up to date. And that’s it. Just like that your vehicle is updated, saving time and money on both ends. See, it really is just as easy as updating a smartphone.

We hope this helps and you can better understand how OTA updates work. Drive safe and remember to update your vehicle whenever it prompts you to.

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