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May 2017

Access to vehicle data, AICA supports the In-Vehicle Interface solution

Massimo Brunamonti

The European Commission recently launched the C-ITS project to study a “standard, interoperable and safe open-access platform”, and points to three possible solutions: an interoperable on-board OTP system (Open Telematics Platform), an advanced direct user-interface or IVI system (In-Vehicle Interface) and an external cloud-based platform (Extended Vehicle). But only one of these, according to AICA, can guarantee the creation and subsequent development of independent and competitive services.
The already hot debate around access to technical data, which has always been a rather thorny issue for the car repair sector, is about to reach new heights due to an ever increasing number of connected vehicles. The debate, previously limited to dedicated user-interface systems, has now been extended to open-platforms as well as a number of other solutions, such as an “Extended Vehicle” system or On-board Interoperable Platforms, currently the objects of on-going studies by the competent authorities. 

Due to the current scenario AICA, Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association, deemed it appropriate to take a stand informing both sector operators and institutional players on the potential issues and possible solutions.
Looking at the existing legal framework, independent car repair specialists enjoy an unrestricted access to IRM platforms (Information Rights Management), enabling vehicle owners to exercise their right to choose the workshop they prefer, and the latter the freedom to obtain vehicle and diagnostic data as well as spare parts from a provider or supplier of their choice. Direct and free access to all on-board electronic systems, a well established practice for decades, is now at risk as car manufacturers are trying to limit it by introducing new technologies.
The European Commission recently launched the C-ITS project to study a “standard, interoperable and safe open-access platform”. The final project report points to three possible solutions: an interoperable on-board OTP system (Open Telematics Platform), an advanced direct user-interface or IVI system (In-Vehicle Interface) and an external cloud-based platform (Extended Vehicle). The latter receiving approval and support by all car manufacturers.

AICA, on the other hand,  deems it necessary to insist on the need to guarantee direct access to vehicle data through a standard on-board connection.
Furthermore, AICA also believes it is necessary to contrast solutions such as the “Extended Vehicle” system for many reasons. First, the development of a dependency-based relationship as independent operators would have to rely on the manufacturers to access a vehicle’s technical data needed for repair or maintenance: vehicle makers could thus exert a measure of control, put barriers and even introduce unjustified additional costs. Second, and equally important, is a potential security issue that would arise by concentrating all data in one server, making the whole system extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. A third absolutely relevant aspect, looking at the EU's legislative history, is the limitation of freedom of choice for the citizen which would result in widespread practice of customer monitoring by the manufacturers.
According to AICA, the IVI (In-Vehicle Interface) solution is the only one able to guarantee the development of independent and competitive solutions, including diagnostics, upholding the end-user’s freedom of choice. In addition, this system proves to be more suitable for future technologies needed to monitor the real status of the vehicle, its components as well as safety systems and driver assistance devices. A standard on-board connection is a must as it provides direct, complete, and open access to vehicle data, functions and resources to both independent operators and vehicle manufacturers or their official networks. Such connections can and must be guaranteed through the highest safety standards and certified interfaces and made available to professionally qualified operators and specialists.





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