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GM recalls 4M cars for airbag software defect; Bolt EV to get OTA updates

Vehicle software updates were featured in General Motors news twice this week. GM has recalled more than 4 million vehicles to correct an airbag software defect already linked to at least one death, reports the LA Times. Also, a top GM engineering executive said the Bolt EV will have an over-the-air (OTA) software update capability within the next year or so, according to Electrek.

In all, 4.28 million vehicles –3.6 million in the U.S. — are covered by the recall to fix airbag software. According to GM, a sensing and diagnostic module can go into a test mode. In that mode, airbags will not inflate in a crash. Seat belts might not work, either. The company said at least one death and three injuries have been associated with the defect.

Related: The Chevy Bolt will have a host of LG components wrapped inside it

The vehicles involved in the recall include: the 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS, and Chevrolet Spark EV; 2014-2017 Buick Encore, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Trax, Chevrolet Caprice police car and Chevrolet Silverado 1500; and 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, GMC Sierra HD, Cadillac Escalade, and Cadillac Escalade ESV.

Owners will have to take their vehicles to a dealer for the free update. Dealers already have the update, so fixes should be fast.

Bolt EV owners won’t need to go to dealers for software updates once OTA programming is enabled. GM Chief Executive Engineer Pam Fletcher said “software download capability” is on its way. First, however, the engineering team is focusing on security.

“We take [cybersecurity] very seriously, and we were the first major automaker to establish a dedicated cybersecurity team … we really wanted to have all the necessary safeguards in place so that we could do over-the-air programming safely and securely on the Bolt EV,” Fletcher said.

According to Electrek, Fletcher said the Bolt EV would retail for $37,500 before incentives, have a 200-mile range, and get from zero to 60 in less than 7 seconds.