But the technology offers more than a streamlined experience for the driver, Honda says. It represents the automaker’s first step toward the next phase of vehicle ownership, which includes the ability to add functions via over-the-air updates.
“What this enables down the road is not just the features it has now, but the ability to over-the-air update to provide a lot of new features and functions that weren’t even developed at the time the car went on sale,” said Jay Joseph, American Honda Motor Co.’s vice president of CASE and Energy.
CASE stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified and is a newly created department tasked with accelerating Honda’s initiatives in these areas.
“We think the idea of owning a car that will add function two, three or eight years after it’s been sold can really change the dynamics of the ownership experience and the used-vehicle market,” Joseph said.
“Our focus is really to put the customer in the middle of the equation, so in that sense, the connected-vehicle experience it offers is essential,” he said.
Facilitating over-the-air software updates is not a new idea in automotive.
Joseph says Honda already has been delivering content to many of its vehicles over the air to reflash existing systems or give service updates.
“The new value of OTA,” he said, “is evolving to include upgrade opportunities.
“By combining the hardware with the software, we can optimize the experience for each individual where they can change functionality or performance after the vehicle purchase.”
In addition to controlling commands such as navigation and music, Google Built-In can operate the climate system. (“Hey Google, turn on the seat heaters for the front passenger.”)