The new Land Rover Defender becomes the first car to get dual-eSIM connectivity
I remember pulling off numerous pranks when I got my first dual-sim phone. It was fun, sadistically, hearing my closest friends exclaiming ‘leave me alone’ while I laughed my heart out. And if you thought dual-eSIM connectivity on a car would be as much fun, you would be right except in every single way.
Adding up to the list of automotive technological advancements seen at this year’s CES, the new Land Rover Defender will be attending the tech convention featuring the world’s first dual-modem, dual eSIM functionality. Although it won’t encourage you to pull off a prank like me, it will ensure over-the-air software updates don’t interrupt your daily infotainment operations.
Unlike the current smartphones where software updates render the entire phone inoperable until its finished, the dual-modem dual-eSIM setup on the new Defender will ensure passengers can continue making use of the connected apps while the software gets updated in the background.
As Peter Virk, Director of Connected Car and Future Technology, Jaguar Land Rover befittingly explained: “You could liken the design (of the infotainment unit) to a brain, with each half enjoying its own connection for unrivalled and uninterrupted service. Like the brain, one side of the system looks after logical functions, like SOTA (Software-Over-The-Air), while the other takes care of more creative tasks (like entertainment or navigation).”
The new Defender’s cabin centrepiece includes a 10-inch high-resolution infotainment unit which Jaguar Land Rover likes to call, Pivi Pro. This touchscreen unit is said to share a considerable amount of hardware with the latest smartphones while getting its own battery. This provides the infotainment unit to respond immediately on start-up along with staying independent, in case of any one-source faults in the SUV’s electrical lines.
The Pivi Pro unit can be connected to two smartphones simultaneously via Bluetooth, allowing ease of use without any phone swapping business. Powering the infotainment unit along with the Vehicle Domain Controller are two high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Am Automotive Platforms, each with an integrated Snapdragon X12 LTE modem.
Further enhancing the technological arsenal in this go-anywhere vehicle is the inclusion of Blackberry’s QNX operating system. Primarily, this software separates the programs used for safety-critical factors (e.g. body domain control) from non-safety critical systems (e.g. infotainment). Secondarily, it also powers the operating system for the Defender’s TFT Interactive Driver Display, or the digital instrument cluster.
Land Rover appears to have bettered itself at SOTA capability. During the initial release, the company claimed up to 14 electric modules to receive remote updates. However, the current scenario sees 16 of the SUV’s control units receiving SOTA updates. If that wasn’t impressive, the carmaker’s engineers estimate the SOTA-update capable module figure will rise from 16 to 45 by end-2021, depicting in-dealer software updates might soon become a thing of the past.
Customers can witness this advanced Pivi Pro technology at the Consumer Electronics Show with the New Defender 110 and 90 taking place on the Qualcomm and BlackBerry stands respectively.