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The rise of on-demand features

 Published 11th July 2023
Driver Guides 

Shopping for your next lease car can be a minefield of acronyms. We all know about ABS, A/C, and the like, but every time you think you're on top of it, somebody comes along with a new one and we have to start all over again.

And it looks like the next big thing is OTA FODs.

We can feel the blank stares from here so we'd better explain about Over the Air updates and Features on Demand.

Luckily, we have the perfect example in the shape of the recently launched all-electric Kia EV9 SUV. The EV9 is Kia's first foray into the growing field of Features on Demand.

FoD is considered one of the hottest new trends, allowing drivers to unlock certain software-related features on their models for a small monthly fee. Some companies including BMW, Mercedes, and now Kia, already offer a number of software-activated features, while many others are set to follow in the near future.

The easiest way to think about FoD is like a regular options list you can shop through when you choose a new car. The difference being these options don't need to be specified when you order the car and can be turned on and off as and when you want them. In much the same way that your phone or computer runs regular updates your car will be able to do exactly the same thing.

This not only means you can keep your navigation system up to date, but it also means individual features in the car can be turned on and off. It also means that any new features that may not even have been available when you chose the car could be added at a later date.

In the case of the Kia EV9 the on-demand service will be available through the Kia Connect Store.

The Kia Connect Store currently offers a range of features, such as Remote Smart Parking Assist 2, which enables drivers to park and exit their vehicles remotely. The store also offers a feature called Lighting Pattern, which provides five different display modes for the two clusters of small cube lamps on the front. The ultimate goal is to provide a wide range of high-tech features in the future.

This gives you the freedom and flexibility to choose and purchase the features you want at any time and from any location. It's like the App Store on your phone, but for your car.

With the Kia Connect Store website, you can effortlessly browse and select any of the features you desire, without being bound by the constraints of your car's original specifications. Upgradeable software can enhance vehicle functions, including safety, convenience, connectivity, security, and driving performance.

With Kia's expanded OTA software update capability, various functions and convenience specifications can now be added or updated without requiring a separate equipment connection to the vehicle. This is possible through wireless communication between the cloud server and the vehicle, enabling software updates without you having to visit a service centre.

Just think how convenient it would be to add new features to your car without the commitment of buying them in the first place?

Or enjoying the option of upgrading or downgrading your car as needed. There's every chance you could even be offered free trials of new features in the future before you decide to part with your hard-earned cash.

Over the Air updates and Features on Demand are still relatively new but it won't be long before it becomes the norm. Then you'll really know what it means to personalise your brand-new lease car. Especially if it's a Kia.

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