OTA solution for internet connected scooter
Ather Energy (https://www.atherenergy.com) was founded in 2013, and is the only premium electric scooter company in India and serves as the industry benchmark. It manufactures both electric scooters and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, AtherGrid. The vehicle, called Ather 450, is an internet connected scooter with a complete application processor, 4G LTE connectivity, mobile app and a display to bring the best battery packed scooter ride experience. The grid, called AtherGrid, is an internet connected electric charging station that uses Ather’s proprietary charging method and connector to charge Ather scooters.
Ather has a requirement to do over-the-air software updates using the Yocto Project. Loss of vehicle connectivity during the update process is a major risk for Ather with stability and security of updates being their highest priority. After spending time looking at a solution internally they soon realized they did not have the time and resources to develop a secure, robust and stable end-to-end OTA solution. Another requirement was having the ability to quickly support new features and service updates without the need to do vehicle recall which would increase the operational costs significantly when vehicles are in the field and in production.
Sanjay KV, General Manager of Ather, said, We wanted to implement an OTA solution internally but didn’t have much time to do it ourselves and then we started to poke external vendors. We came across the open source version of Mender and were convinced that Mender was the easiest end-to-end solution with no vendor lock-in that met our requirements. Security, robustness and stability were the highest priorities for us and Mender handled it nicely specifically automatic rollback to the previous working state if the update was interrupted with power loss and poor network connectivity.
OTA software and firmware updates enable the management of vehicle systems from preproduction to the end of life without the manual labor of having field technicians repair each individual vehicle. For Ather, time saved in planning, developing and implementing an end-to-end OTA solution helped them go to market faster and more efficient. There are cost savings associated with new feature and service updates without the need for vehicle recall when they are in the field and in production. The Mender intuitive web user interface minimizes the learning required to deploy software updates, opening this capability to nontechnical users and saving time. There is no need to explain the technical details of how Mender works before a user can manage and deploy software updates.