In modern vehicles, embedded software is mainly the driving force for the realisation of new functionality. Spread on more than hundred electronic control units, software parts work together in a network to fulfil certain tasks of safety, comfort, energy management and of course vehicle dynamics. Currently, this software is flashed at the end of the assembly line. In regular terms (normally six months), a software baseline of all the electronic control units is released. As a consequence, a distinct variety of releases is deployed on vehicles on the road for each vehicle type. Combined with the alternatives of engines, chassis and customer wishes, the variants of vehicles rise to a number beyond millions. Opening now the chance for over the air updates demands for restrictive and rigorous consistency checks before any update is spread among all the vehicles of one brand or type in the field. In an empirical study based on a survey, we collected and interpreted the answers of participants from different automotive institutions concerning the current state of practice and the faced challenges during release development and management. ... mehr The outcome of the survey revealed that field updates are getting more and more important due to the rising software part inside vehicles and that over the air communication is an efficient way to realise them in the future. The shortening release and update cycles together with increasing number of variants and the multidisciplinarity in the automotive field were identified as the main challenges in the current development of automotive engineering.