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On the OnStar thread someone stated that given how poorly GM handles OnStar they wouldn't trust them to do OTAs because they could brick your car. That sentiment is understandable. Personally I think OTAs are a great idea if handled competently, they would save GM a lot of money and their customers a lot of time and they would provide a significant post sale revenue opportunity ala Tesla which allows you to turn on autopilot whenever you feel like paying them for it.

The first question to ask, can OTAs be done safely and reliably? The answer to that is yes, as long has you can control when it happens, can easily back them out, and most importantly the company that does it knows what they are doing. I have 10 Linux systems that run two versions of Redhat Linux, half use Fedora which is Redhat's development platform and is basically an ongoing beta, and half run Scientific Linux which is a free clone of Redhat Enterprise Linux. Doing updates or upgrades to a Redhat system involves a single command, the rest is automatic. Fedora gets hundreds of megabytes of updates a week and you have to do a full upgrade at least once a year. Enterprise Linux, which is where they make their money, gets vastly fewer updates a month, just bug fixes, and an occasional point release that adds a few features, it's supported for 11 years. I've never had an update go wrong on Enterprise Linux, because if that were to happen the world would come to a halt (almost literally because so much infrastructure relies on RHEL). But even Fedora, which promises you that it can break because it's a beta, almost never has a problem with an update or upgrade. I just upgraded 5 boxes from Fedora 25 to Fedora 27, which is a complete OS upgrade and had a 3.3GByte download, it required a single command to download and prepare the update and a second to reboot the systems. It worked flawlessly all all systems and it always has (I've been using Redhat since 1999). So yes it's possible to do it if they company is careful with the process.

Can GM do it now? No. Yesterday I took my Volt in for four recalls, most of which were just firmwares updates (I think one was an actual physical fix involving a shim). I had to leave my car at the dealer all day because applying the updates takes hours because they do it over the antique OBD-II port rather than a USB port which is many orders of magnitude faster. These updates cost GM hours of tech time and deprived me of my car for a day, it would have been much better if they could have been done as an OTA. However it's clear that GM doesn't know how to handle firmware updates in an automatic fashion. Each of the updates had to be applied individually instead of doing them all at once. And more importantly they required some additional steps after the updates were applied. When I picked up my car yesterday I ended up having to go around the block and bring it back to them because they left out a step. When I turned on the car it told me that the collision avoidance system was disabled., lane keep was also disabled As it turns out the reason for this is that one of the updates was to fix a bug with the front camera, after upgrading the camera firmware they required an additional step to re enable the collision avoidance system. If GM knew what they were doing they would have automated everything and not required that some human to execute a series of steps. But they aren't there yet, they are still doing things the way you would do them if you were fixing a mechanical problem. Until they can do something like this with simple entirely automatic procedure there is no way they can do OTAs.
 

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Muahaha, they are coming sooner than you think. Can be counted in quarters, not years.
Well, the above may or may not be true for Bolt owners.
 

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Even competent companies make mistakes. For example, look at Apple's recent fiascos with iOS 11 as well as the Mac OS X root password bypass (which effectively cripples the security of one of the most secure systems in the world).
 

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I had to leave my car at the dealer all day because applying the updates takes hours because they do it over the antique OBD-II port rather than a USB port which is many orders of magnitude faster.
Sheesh, how moronic is that? It boggles the mind. GM is an enormous automobile manufacturing corporation that sells millions of vehicles that are nowadays basically elaborate computers on wheels, and which are guaranteed to require several updates before the warranty period runs out. Why wouldn't they find it in their interests to figure out a way to increase the speed of data transfer during updates, and implement that functionality across their lineup?

OTA is one thing, but let's start with at least not having to leave the car at the dealer all day (or longer) just for firmware updates.
 
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