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SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR UPGRADING FIRMWARE IN A VEHICLE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011545D
Publication Date: 2003-Mar-03
Document File: 2 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A system for wireless communication to external sources is disclosed. Vehicle systems including firmware can be coupled to the external communication systems to receive firmware updates wirelessly over the Internet or from any other source. The vehicle computing system can establish an external communication link using a link (e.g., a Bluetooth link) to a cellular phone that connects to an external service. The external link can be used to receive the firmware upgrades. Following receipt, the vehicle computing system can transfer the upgrades to the device needing the upgrade using a second Bluetooth link. Although a Bluetooth link is described in this embodiment, any wireless RF link could be used.

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SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR UPGRADING FIRMWARE IN A VEHICLE

         Vehicle interior systems are increasingly including electronic modules controlled by software code. The software code is not manipulated by the user and operates in the background to provide functionality to vehicle systems. This software code is called firmware. Firmware is computer programming instructions that are stored in a read-only memory unit rather than being implemented through software. An example of firmware is found in a vehicle compass system. A vehicle compass uses an internal magnet to sense the current heading of the vehicle. The firmware receives signals as input from the internal magnet, interprets these signals, and outputs signals to control a display to indicate a current heading. Other vehicle systems can include displays, headphones, a wireless keyboard, etc.

         The firmware in vehicle systems will occasionally need to be updated. Because the firmware is internal to a vehicle system and not manipulated by the user, this is not easily accomplished. The driver would return the vehicle to a service station to receive firmware updates.

         Increasingly, vehicles include systems for wireless communication to external sources. Vehicle systems including firmware can be coupled to the external communication systems to receive firmware updates wirelessly over the Internet or from any other source. According to an exemplary embodiment, the vehicle computing system can establish an external communication link using a Bluetooth link to a cellular phone that connects to an external service. The external link can be used to receive the firmware upgrades. Following receipt, the vehicle computing system can transfer the upgrades to the device needing the upgrade using a second Bluetooth link. Although a Bluetooth link is described in this embodiment, any wireless RF link could be used.

         FIG. 1, see below, illustrates an exemplary system for updating firmware in a vehicle. In this exemplary embodiment, the firmware is included in...