Innovation and Technology

Access to the vehicle (and vehicle generated data)

Modern vehicles already have up to one hundred on board control units that constantly communicate with each other to ensure correct driving and customer functionality.

Digitalization will bring about fundamental changes to mobility and the automotive industry. The opportunities created by this technological innovation will have greater influence on this industry sector in the next ten years than any other has in the previous thirty.

The need for action

Modern vehicles already have up to one hundred on board control units that constantly communicate with each other to ensure correct driving and customer functionality. Theoretically with increased connectivity and digitalization vehicles and vehicle data can be accessed from every corner of the world. This possibility opens the door to lots of untapped potential, for example, preventing traffic accidents, making vehicles more energy efficient, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption whilst increasing driving comfort. Data exchange creates the foundation to link transport carriers and realize the full potential of seamless inter-modality. Data builds the intelligence for the whole traffic system, enabling highly automated and autonomous vehicles to realize their full potential. The vehicle is becoming a data generator. The secure exchange of its data builds the foundation for new business activities/ applications

There are, however, significant risks and challenges regarding safety, security and privacy. This makes the automotive industry different from already established platforms. Vehicles require much higher standards in safety, security, and privacy compared with smartphones or other consumer devices – a car is not a smartphone.

  • Vehicle Safety: The objective is freedom from unacceptable risk of physical injury or damage to the health of people either directly or indirectly.
  • Automotive Security: Aims to adequately protect the integrity and availability of vehicle functions, electronic components and data, against both cyber-attacks and manipulation.
  • Data Privacy: The goal of data privacy is to protect the individual and to ensure that individuals are informed about any personal data usage (transparency), giving them the choice of which data is made available to which third parties for what.

Whilst enabling new customer features and business opportunities, vehicle connectivity in all forms increases vulnerability to possible cyber-attacks. Unlike the smart phone a vehicle is a safety relevant device. The integrity and security of the vehicle is paramount and must be protected at all times to guarantee predictable vehicle behavior and ensure the safety of its occupants. In the absence of a broadly accepted approach that ensures these requirements are fulfilled, the benefits of connectivity and automation will not be realized and customer confidence will be undermined.

The VDA has established a position that meets the requirements for safety, security, privacy and discrimination free innovation.

Concept for the transfer of data

This position is based on a two-level architecture:

  1. Each OEM has the role of a system administrator and takes the responsibility for the safe and secure transfer of vehicle generated data from the vehicle to a standardized and maintained business-to-business (B2B) OEM interface.
  2. Third parties can access vehicle data directly over the OEM B2B interface or via neutral server(s) which gather data from the OEM servers. Behind the neutral server providers can dock any services.

Access to vehicle data via the B2B OEM interface is based on B2B agreements.

There is no direct access to the vehicle by third parties to avoid risks to customer and public safety, but this concept for the transfer of vehicle generated data   ensures access in a fully non-discriminatory manner contributing to innovation and allowing fair and open competition without the abuse of market power and the establishment of monopolies in digital markets.

The legally regulated status quo and further developments of the OBD-I /OBD-II interface will be retained for diagnosis and repair purposes. The OEMs reserve the right to take specific measures to protect vehicle integrity during normal operations.

Concept for data usage categories

Globally regulatory initiatives are under way to regulate the availability of data. All decisions made regarding data sharing influence competition, safety and product liability. A comprehensive and broadly accepted understanding of data and its usage is a prerequisite for a balanced debate.

The VDA position is built on four data categories.

Category 1 – Data for the improvement of road traffic safety: The focus is on the social benefits. Anonymized data is exchanged between contributing parties (including public authorities) to enable a significant improvement in traffic safety.

Category 2 – Data for cross brand services: a defined cross OEM       dataset consisting of non-differentiating anonymized vehicle data.

Category 3a – Data for brand specific services: a differentiating OEM specific dataset consisting of OEM specific anonymized data and data with particular IP relevance.

Category 3b – Data for component analysis and product improvement: a differentiating component specific anonymized dataset which is made available by the OEM only to the relevant component development partner for product improvement purposes.

Category 4 – Personal data: a defined cross OEM as well as OEM specific dataset which is made available to parties authorized by the customer to process the data by law, contract or consent. The data in this category supports services that require identification of the user or the vehicle, or include the use of personal data including but not limited to the VIN. The data is made available taking into account the customers’ privacy rights.

Data for the improvement of road traffic safety (category 1) will be made available by the German automobile industry to public authorities specifically for this purpose. It will be made available discrimination free over the OEM backend servers, based on individual agreements with the OEMs. It should be a reciprocal agreement. All those who contribute data of the required quality are entitled to use the shared data.

Data in the categories 2 to 4 is characterized by different data privacy needs and data usages. Data is provided discrimination free via the B2B interface based on individual agreements with customers and third party market participants, if required. The data supply is discrimination free with respect to for example, pricing, the amount and type of data made available, timeliness of transfer and all other relevant quality criteria.

The two-step architecture applies to the handling of all four data categories and accommodates the varying privacy and usage requirements of each category. The target is to enable platforms for the exchange of mobility, aftersales and vehicle generated data in a similar way to those which exists for CE devices, offering customer choice and promoting open competition.

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