German automotive data platform promises to ensure security and access for all industry sectors

08 November 2017

08 November 2017

German vehicle manufacturers are facing increasing challenges when it comes to holding onto data garnered from their connected vehicles, with the insurance, servicing and safety industries calling for regulation to protect interests of the entire market.

Modern cars with their large number of electronic control units are, according to popular opinion, susceptible to hacker attacks, with data security a growing discussion in the industry. According to the concept of the automotive manufacturers, the data should be transferred from the vehicle to their own secure servers, and other companies should then be given access to the data via these servers.

OEMs themselves are developing a new system called ExVe to allow online access to vehicle data, but they would be ‘policing’ the service along with many players in the aftermarket and outside of the OEM space. The German technical inspection association (TÃœV) opposes manufacturers holding onto data. It proposes a concept called the ′Automotive Platform’, a uniformly integrated high-security platform, which is described as a ′safe which can be locked and unlocked only with a key’. Within this platform, the access permissions for the vehicle data are stored, and only the vehicle owner should have the decision on rights of this access.

The central platform is intended to connect all electronic control units in the car and to separate the components of services and infotainment offerings that are important for operational safety through separate encryption.

′From our point of view, three aspects must be guaranteed: the operational safety of the vehicle, data security and data protection and the privacy of motorists,’ said Richard Goebelt, Member of the Executive Board of the umbrella organisation VdTÃœV.

Goebelts believes that on external servers, the data gathered would be susceptible to manipulation, meaning if it did not come directly from the vehicle, testers and technicians could not rely on it. ′If the data are only retrieved via server and not directly via electronic or digital interfaces on the vehicle, we could, in the emissions test for example, no longer ensure that their data is truly neutral or have been changed in any way,’ he adds.

Meanwhile, car dealerships and independent garages across the continent are finding themselves reluctant to invest in equipment required to repair vehicles due to fears over access to essential information.

CECRA, the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs, has warned that its members are delaying investment in new technology until they have reassurance that vehicle manufacturers will release digital data.

′Significant investments are needed, and right now, due to the uncertainties over the level of access that they are going to get from connected vehicles, most of European dealers and repairers are afraid of losing their investments,’ said the industry body in a statement.

It has welcomed a new report, GEAR 2030, from the European Commission that specifically addresses the issue of digitisation in the automotive value chain, including access to vehicle data. CECRA wants to see a robust regulatory framework, at European level, for the introduction of a standardised, in-vehicle telematics platform that will enable different computer systems to share the data. This will allow dealers and repairers to compete for service and repair work in future, and give fleets and private car drivers a choice of workshops for their maintenance work.

Jean-Charles Herrenschmidt, president of CECRA, said, ′An on-board application platform is the only solution that fulfils the data-access requirements of dealers and repairers.’