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Access to data

Connected cars allow innovative remote functions that enable multiple new use cases and business models. Remote access to highly granular in-vehicle data enables advanced analytics including predictive failure analysis, driving style analysis and highly accurate analytics on wear and tear of components. 

 

What is the issue?

Connected cars allow innovative remote functions that enable multiple new use cases and business models. Remote access to highly granular in-vehicle data enables advanced analytics including predictive failure analysis, driving style analysis and highly accurate analytics on wear and tear of components. When such technology is combined with remote access to the vehicle and driver interaction through the vehicle human-machine interface, new services and business models can be created. Predictive and preventive maintenance can thus support new business models such as ‘Maintenance as a Service’ or ‘Tires as a Service’.

However, the proprietary closed technical design of manufacturers’ in-vehicle telematics systems and thus the lack of an efficient, interoperable access to in-vehicle data and resources prevents the automotive aftermarket and mobility services sector to realise its digital potential. Independent service providers require the ability to offer competitive digital services to end-users/corporate customers genuinely independently from the vehicle manufacturer (i.e. the ability to compete effectively as independent businesses). As vehicle manufacturers accelerate the deployment of such systems, they reduce further the scope for competition.

Alerted by FIGIEFA and other associations representing various segments of the independent aftermarket, the European Commission has initiated a process to legislate on the issue and set a legal framework for remote access to in-vehicle data and functions. It is crucial that such a legislation would preserve a level-playing field for competition.

How does it impact our business ?

The so-called ‘Extended Vehicle’ (ExVe) model promoted by vehicle manufacturers channels all remote data communication through the vehicle manufacturer’s proprietary backend server. Only a limited part of the in-vehicle data and a narrow subset of functions, based on the business model of the vehicle manufacturer, are made available to independent service providers. It gives vehicle manufacturers full control to decide arbitrarily how (mainly aggregated and already diagnosed/processed), when (latencies) and to whom access to data, functions and resources will be granted. Via this approach competing providers become dependent on the vehicle manufacturer and are no longer able to compete effectively. Vehicle manufacturers’ pre-selected data, diagnostics and repair methods would restrict independent providers to ‘duplicated’, redundant services. Innovation as well as effective competition will be hampered within the overall automotive sector.

The technically closed ExVe system places the vehicle manufacturer into a role of self-appointed gatekeeper, interposing itself between its competitors and their customers. ExVe thereby enables not only full control of each vehicle manufacturer over its brand-specific aftermarket, but ultimately also full control over all vehicle-related services around the connected and automated mobility.

The lack of independent competition deprives consumers and fleet operators of genuine choice; they become ‘locked-in’ into the digital eco-system of the vehicle manufacturer immediately after purchase, as switching to another vehicle is generally not an option. The economic consequences of this proprietary, unregulated ExVe access to in-vehicle data could lead to additional costs for consumers of up to €32 billion, and losses for independent service providers up to €33 billion by 2030.

What is FIGIEFA doing ?

FIGIEFA has alerted the European Union’s institutions several years ago on the risks of foreclosure of the independent aftermarket in case the ExVe model would be deployed to the detriment of a solution ensuring fair competition. It has in particular initiated two Manifestos in 2018 and 2019 on the topic, which were co-signed by a wide number of sectors (repairers, inspection centers, garage equipment suppliers, tires, rental companies, insurers, lubricants) as well as by representatives of SMEs and consumers.

Most recently, in March 2021, FIGIEFA, together with seven other associations representing the aftermarket and consumers, released a detailed, technical explanation of the needs of the independent aftermarket, and how to address them through a “Secure On-board Telematics Platform” (or S-OTP).

FIGIEFA also commissioned an independent study with the aim to show that it is perfectly possible to have the highest level of cybersecurity protection, whilst at the same time allowing an independent communication with the vehicle, its data and resources.

FIGIEFA is systematically contributing to the work of the European Commission preparing legislations regulating the digitalisation of our economy and society. Over the years, FIGIEFA provided input to dozens of investigations on the matter covering the full spectrum of challenges set by the digital transformation of road mobility. With its inputs backed by sound technological concepts and legal arguments, FIGIEFA has become a trustworthy partner for the European Commission on these issues.

As a result of this advocacy work highlighting the specificities of the automotive aftermarket and the need for a dedicated legislation on the matter, the European Commission has put on its work programme a legislation on access to in-vehicle data. It is expected that it will publish its proposal by the end of 2021 or early 2022. This will be preceded by a public consultation and an impact assessment of the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of such a legislation. The proposal would then most likely need to be endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, which brings together the national governments of the EU Member States, before coming into law. This will require additional work from FIGIEFA and its Members, in order to convince all involved decision-makers at EU level and in the national capitals. As France will assume the EU Presidency for the first half of 2022, and as this issue of access to data is likely to be a focus area for them, significant progress might be made soon.

Last but not least, besides this legislative work, FIGIEFA is organising workshops for the companies of the sector, to inform them of the challenges ahead and how they can best prepare to the increasing trend of digitalisation.