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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, there doesn't seem to be a thread dedicated to this topic so I'll start one. This thread is about updated software in the Volt. As I see it, that could include:

- status of software features / fixes to be rolled out to older Volts (e.g. MY 2011)
- new features in newer Volts (e.g. MY 2012)
- how exactly to get an update done, i.e. how to help your dealer get the right things out of the GM system

There was other discussion here (which I now can't find)

For starters, here's a list I've gathered from folks here on what has improved in the MY 2012 Volts, and which I assume will get backported to the MY 2011 Volts:
- passive Key Fob unlocking the doors (perhaps requires 2012 hardware)
- improved heater performance (clarification?)
- not automatically turning on the radio when using other touchscreen functions

If there are specific posts discussing these items, please point me to them. Use the URL in the "number" (e.g. #1 for this post) in the upper right corner of the post.

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I expect to see someone doing software mods to the Volt soon. Reprogramming the ECU in older GM vehicles is common now to gain more HP or save more gas by changing many variables encoded into its PROM. Should be similar with the Volt as soon as it becomes mainstream. I can even bet that the first item to change is the screen look, also known as "skins". That type of change doesn't modify the operations, but it is a start!
 

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@ChrisC, there is a thread here http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?7255-Software-2.0-Requests but I would love to see this resurrected. The requests captured as of end June were:

1) Do regular software updates, prefer either an OnStar download or a user upload with USB rather than having to go to the dealer...

Car Operations Safety & Security
1) Add optional ICE lock-out on for the remote start feature for cars in garages
2) Brake lights come on during heavy regen in Low mode to warn cars behind of rapid deceleration (like Tesla does).
3) Automatically turn on headlamps if wipers are on intermittent for a more than a few seconds.
4) Automatic pre-crash for cars with park assist (door locks, apply brakes, pre-tension belts)
5) Teen mode that locks out distractions from infotainment system to keep at minimum necessary controls


Car Operations Fixes and Improvements
1) Fix irregular turn signal sound and blinking
2) Retain last driving model selected after car is shut down and restarted (or offer option to change default from Normal to Sport)
3) Add a Hold Mode to defer electric driving as in Europe
4) Automatic door unlock when key is in proximity
5) ICE Eco Mode - "GM has the ICE "following" the accelerator to give a more normal user experience, if I'm trying for my best CS range I'd prefer the ICE run at (one of several?) optimum shelf speed if that's a more efficient mode of use for the ICE."
6) Climate control to revert to previous state when defrost is turned off rather than reverting to comfort level
7) Ability to set preconditioning climate settings to a different setting than "normal." For example, if Eco mode is the default on the car, be able to set the pre-conditioning to "comfort." Even better, the ability to set precondtioning to "comfort" if car is plugged in and set preconditioning to Eco if it is not.


Operations Management Tools
1) Create option for more personalized displays and simulated analog gauges
2) Add or make optional a KWH and % metering on the battery
3) Real time amp meter (instantaneous watts and average watt-hours/mile)
4) Optional tach for the ICE along with an instantaneous gas MPG display
5) Downloadable detailed driving information to track teenage drivers (route and speed)


Nav and Infotainment Improvements
1) Option to power off the radio and keep it off until driver "turns" it back on without also turning off the nav. (The volume button is not a power off button.)
2) Fix Phone Commands so there is a top-level bluetooth command (e.g. Bluetooth Call rather than the long "handsfree" beep bluetooth beep voice beep etc.)
3) Automatically pause audio source or radio when the NAV system starts speaking (radio goes to time-shift on the HDD, other audio sources just pause)
4) Ability to switch between quickest, easiest, and shortest route while in route. Only way I've found to do it is to cancel the route and re-initiate it again.
5) Ability to cancel a route by voice.
6) Ability to customize sounds from uploaded files (start-up, chimes, etc.)
7) Retain track order for CDs loaded to HDD
8) Retain recorded audio and make them selectable via the HDD menu.
9) Allow for automatic Daylight Savings Time clock updates (selectable for our friends in Arizona)
10) Make at least some buttons user-programmable (e.g. Info., TP, AS, etc.).
11) Same as #3 but when XM traffic comes on
12) Allow user to turn off the horn chirp (or chirps) that sound when you plug in the car
13) Enable Bluetooth music streaming from iphone
14) Ability to reduce frequency or temporarily disable (snooze) weather alerts
15) Fix USB eject requirement for ipod, etc. (either no need to eject or at least put eject button on a convenient screen)
16) Ability to turn Nav Screen to off from re-programmed button (see #10 above)
17) Set Nav to "monitor mode" instead of "guidance" so that you can set a destination, see where you are related to the route, but not get any turn by-turn guidance
18) Include charging stations as a POI in next Nav update
19) Sort weather alert list by distance or only show alerts within x number of miles
20 Automatically adjust clock when driving across time zones (include message on screen to notify driver)
21) Bluetooth - Allow two phones to be ‘active’ simultaneously
22) Ability to select "less detailed" guidance, just enough so to remind you of major intersections

OnStar App / My Volt Improvements (probably deserves a new thread)
1) Where's my Volt from smartphone app or myvolt
2) Send maps directly from SmartPhone.
3) Ability to open windows remotely (air out car on hot day)
 

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- passive Key Fob unlocking the doors (perhaps requires 2012 hardware)
I had asked VA Trevor about this in another thread, and he said there were no plans for GM to make an upgrade kit available to add passive unlocking to the 2011 Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@ChrisC, there is a thread here ... The requests captured as of end June were ...
Thanks SolarExec for that massive compilation :) To be clear, all those were REQUESTS that you all had brainstormed in that thread.

What I was looking to itemize here was the ACTUAL changes that are part of the (rumored) software update.

I'll go read through that thread in case there's some info there about the update.

Thanks fishhawk for the confirmation.
 

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I would like to know if the Volt will display any album art. When playing songs from the HDD, the song titles cut off about 75% of the way across the screen. There's a nice square area there on the right that would display album art if it could be uploaded and recognized.
 

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What I was looking to itemize here was the ACTUAL changes that are part of the (rumored) software update.
That's a VERY good question. Maybe our friend Trevor can confirm that (1) there is going to be an update (2) a bit of a hint on what it might include!
 

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What I was looking to itemize here was the ACTUAL changes that are part of the (rumored) software update.
WOT mentioned this about software upgrades: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?6671-Check-Engine-Light-On-On-Star-Diagnostics&p=61015#post61015

As of a few weeks ago, my dealer said that no upgrades were recommended for my Volt (#541). I've also read on this forum that, at this juncture, upgrades only are done for problems specifically identified by a Volt owner. (i.e., "Don't fix something that's not broken.")
 

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I took my Volt in for a warranty fix in June (charge port door sensor failed) and when I got the car back I had a new feature on my nav. When getting onto an interstate highway instead of just showing the map, it now shows a list of the next 3 exits with distance and time to the exit. This never was there the previous 2 months of ownership. It is a cool feature since if you click on the exit it gives you a list of all the POIs near the exit. So I'm assuming I got some type of Nav software update while the car was in for the warranty fix.
 

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When getting onto an interstate highway instead of just showing the map, it now shows a list of the next 3 exits with distance and time to the exit.
I think that's a feature that was already there. My #95 does that too, if I hit the wrong button on the screen (which is a nice way of saying I generally don't care about what's coming up in the next few exits :- ).
 

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There is a message (from WOT?) somewhere that gives a method you can use to find out what the level of each piece of software was in the Volt when it left the assembly line.
Try this link: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?7783-What-version-of-software-does-my-Volt-have-What-is-the-newest-one-Release-Notes&highlight=software+level
Actually, the publically accessible web-site I offered in that thread ( http://tis2web.service.gm.com/tis2web ) will show you the most recent available software available (AND release history) for any particular car based on it's VIN. What isn't easy at the end-user level however (due to the shear volume of calibration IDs) is to establish exactly where your existing calibration levels are at, as this will require special tools and access to GM internal programming tools.

Some of this I explain in detail in my post (#15) in this thread : http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread....1223#post81223

What I can say is that some of the items ChrisC has expressed concern about in his original post, specifically the potential to upgrade to passive entry or the radio being used to control the center stack display- I can say with 100% certainty that these are far from "software" issues as they are more hardware implementation (aka "features"). ;)
So there certainly won't be any way of addressing these through some sort of software update alone.

As far as improved heater performance, I'm not certain of your source regarding this but AFAIK there hasn't been an update specifically to address "heater performance" . Most updates in this area have been strictly for "human-machine interface" issues (not primary control strategy) between the 4 critical elements, the center stack touch switches, LCD touch screen, radio unit (which directly controls and manages the touch screen), and climate control module.i.e. various screen "freezes", missing or "grayed out" soft keys, unresponsive input, inconsistent heated seats or blower output, etc etc)

AS far a pure performance issues, it has been established that many of the "concerns" with respect to the heater in colder weather were potentially due to the lack of understanding of the Volt's HVAC control strategy with respect to the ECON and COMFORT settings. In ECON the maximum output of the high-voltage coolant heater and blower motor is limited to about 25-30% of maximum.

So other than that there is currently nothing that I can find in either a technical service bulletin or software revision summary that indicates a direct attempt to improve the performance of the heater.(but it's not inconceivable that this still might have been "bundled" into one of the other updates)

Additionally, you may recall there is a future plan to roll out an "all-new" vehicle programming capability that would permit the ability to update certain aspects of the Volt's software "over-IP". The Volt was to represent a pilot of sorts in this regard.I haven't heard exactly where that stands in a while but will see if I can find out if and/or when this might be fully implemented. Obviously something that would be very convenient for Volt owners as it would not require a dealer visit to perform.

HTH
WOT
 

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Off Topic - Rain in PR

I expect to see someone doing software mods....
Ray, Did you have any problem with the storm? I saw that parts of PR got over a foot of rain this week.

WVhybrid
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Slapshot and JohnK for the excellent links to other posts.

Here's some particularly good background info from WopOnTour:

... you can’t really just go into a dealership and request an "update" as unless your car is exhibiting a documented condition or one that is determined to be software related, because (right or wrong) GM won't pay the dealer under warranty to perform "routine" updates. So to do would generally be at your own cost, unless it was to rectify a condition that your vehicle has been verified to be exhibiting.

However GM is committed to provide CRITICAL updates under warranty and is actually working to be able to deliver these "over-IP" when necessary in the near future. There have been a few tests of this all-new mechanism. To date I don't believe anyone other than a few CAB members have ever been updated in this fashion as it requires a certain level of reliability in the cellular connection and a level vehicle electrical stability throughout and as such a level of owner cooperation and commitment to NOT be having to drive the car and to be plugged in while the update is being performed.
 

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3) Automatically turn on headlamps if wipers are on intermittent for a more than a few seconds.
My Volt already does this with the wipers on. Is it that intermittent mode doesn't turn the headlights on? I'm not sure I've noticed wrt that particular detail.

As far as software updates, if GM doesn't fix the audio track playback order problem soon, I'm going to be extremely disappointed. It can't be that hard to do (speaking as a software guy), and the annoyance factor as well as the "how can anyone be so stupid" factor are both about one bazillion. I expect this level of software lameness from Japanese cars, since they generally suck at software and (contrary to popular belief) often get little details like that wrong in my experience. But from GM, it's nearly unforgivable. Did they farm this one out to India or Malaysia?

And while we're on the audio improvements topic (or at least I'm on that topic!), they should let you touch/drag the current track position on the screen display's time bar to change where you are in the track playback-- you know, the kind of thing you can do on a $99 smart phone. This is especially true for listening to long podcasts or audio book type material. Just trying advancing an hour within a track like that (you have to hold down the forward Seek button) and see how much you want to strangle whoever designed this system! You['ll probably get wherever it is you were driving before you get 30 minutes forward in the track!
 
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@ ChrisC,

Just wanted to update you and everyone else, that the software update for the 2011 Volt is now available. Our Volt Advisor Team is contacting all 2011 owners and explaining what exactly is being updated and assisting with setting up dealer appointments. If you have not heard from an advisor yet, you will be hearing from one soon!
 

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explaining what exactly is being updated
Trevor,
I was contacted by my Volt Advisor yesterday about the software update but she didn't tell me what was being updated. Will we notice any changes in the Human Interface with the car or is it all internal software updates that will be unknown to the user?
 
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@ bronco7TX,

These software updates will include areas such as HVAC, navigation, radio, and instrument panel.
 

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Doesn't seem like it's worth a dealer visit. I prefer going to the dentist.

@ bronco7TX,

These software updates will include areas such as HVAC, navigation, radio, and instrument panel.
 
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