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Tesla’s ‘Over-the-Air’ Updates Could Change Auto Service Industry

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Dec. 26, 2013—Amidst criticism over recent vehicle fires, Tesla Motors announced an “over-the-air” update to the air suspension of its Model S vehicles. It’s a move many believe to be yet another sign of the California-based, electric-vehicle maker’s ability to cut out the automotive aftermarket.

After three fires due to loose debris striking the undercarriage of the vehicles, the company upgraded the capabilities of its Model S to allow for the suspension to raise automatically at higher highway speeds. 

The fact that the company was able to make this change to the vehicle remotely demonstrates the ability of the company’s upgrade system to make physical changes to its vehicles from afar. It isn’t limited to mere software upgrades like some other vehicle manufacturers.

This is where many speculate the repair industry could be impacted: The Model S's in-vehicle technology could potentially allow for vehicles to be physically altered, adjusted and, possibly, fixed remotely. There would be no need for it to be brought to a service location.

"Over-the-air" updates could be the future of repair, Wired has reported previously, allowing cars to have the same capacity for improvement as other technological devices. 

Equipped with AT&T network chips, the Model S is able to upgrade items such as suspension, or even allow for vehicles to automatically creep forward after letting off the brake pedal simply by switching it on or off via the vehicle’s 17-inch touch screen panel.

The updates to the Internet-connected vehicles are free, and also offer more traditional items like browsing, music streaming, and map services. 

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