Hyundai now offers over-the-air (OTA) updates for the Ioniq 5, enabling drivers to enjoy automatic software updates. Although the Ioniq 5 is Hyundai’s first model in Europe to allow OTA updates, EV models made by Audi, Tesla, BMW, and more have offered the same functionality for a while now. Interestingly, Hyundai is late to the scene, especially when Tesla has leveraged the capabilities of OTA updates since 2012. Tesla’s OTA updates apply to the automaker’s fleet and encompass functions like Sentry Mode, extended range, and even the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) packages.
OTA updates refer to the wireless release of new software, firmware, or any kind of data to a vehicle. Car brands use OTA updates to improve the features of their model’s software and the driver’s overall experience. These updates have become prevalent in the automotive market and the primary use cases are for infotainment and navigation systems. It’s relatively easy for vehicles to receive software updates. For example, automobile operating systems like Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX search the cloud for OTA updates, which are then downloaded, validated, and run by a connected vehicle’s telematics control unit (TCU).
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Hyundai’s rollout of OTA updates is for the Ioniq 5’s infotainment and map system. This means that drivers can now enjoy automatic Bluelink infotainment software and map updates instead of having to download and install them manually. Aside from eliminating the need for manual updates, drivers no longer need to visit dealerships to get the updates. According to Hyundai, this enables Ioniq 5 drivers to save time since they can determine when and where the Bluelink software is updated. Drivers of this EV can rest assured that their vehicle will always have the latest infotainment and map software updates which should enhance the EV’s offerings. One key feature of the OTA update is that drivers can access current infotainment and map features while the upgrade is being downloaded. Upon completion of the download, a notification is sent to the driver’s smartphone through the Bluelink app. Hyundai will offer OTA updates twice a year, with the first available from the middle of June and the second available in the second half of 2022.
Essentially, there are three ways to receive updates on the Ioniq 5’s infotainment and map software. Drivers can either use OTA updates, a USB drive, or visit a Hyundai dealer. Although Hyundai claims that drivers don’t need to visit the dealership or manually update the software, the automaker still advertises three methods. For the USB drive method, drivers can access the Hyundai Navigation Update Portal to download the latest version of maps and infotainment software. Upon download, drivers will need to install the updates on the EV using the USB drive.
For software updates through the Hyundai dealer, the driver needs to request a software update during their next maintenance appointment. The updates are free while the Bluelink service’s complimentary period lasts. Upon expiration, drivers will need to renew their Bluelink subscription to keep the updates coming. The software update is currently available solely for the Ioniq 5, with no word yet on whether other Hyundai models will also support OTA functionality.