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Creating a level playing field for vehicle data access: Time for an ambitious legislation!

13 Sep 2021

Brussels, 13 September 2021 – Ahead of the European Commission’s Workshop on “Access to In-Vehicle Data” on 17 September 2021, a broad coalition representing automotive aftermarket operators, vehicle dealers, mobility services and consumers urges the European Commission to publish an ambitious  legislative proposal on access to in-vehicle data by the first quarter of 2022 at the latest.

The ongoing lack of access to in-vehicle data and functions increasingly jeopardizes our ability to compete in digital products and services and to provide customers, both consumers and fleet owners/operators, with the digital services they expect. The recent TRL Study Report commissioned by the European Commission depicts these problems, which are rooted in vehicle manufacturers’ closed telematics systems. Another study, commissioned by the consumers organisation FIA Region I, showed that if this model would continue to establish itself, it could lead to consumers and independent service providers having to absorb additional costs of around €65 billion per year by 2030.

It is therefore time to act! After already lengthy investigations and several postponements since 2018, the draft legislation should be put in the legislative loop no later than the first quarter of 2022 to have a chance to go through the complete ordinary legislative procedure. Any delay could result in this major legislation protecting consumers and SMEs being delayed to the next terms of the European Commission and of the European Parliament, putting at risk the competitiveness and the survival of the 500.000 companies and 4,5 million jobs we represent.

A robust and ambitious sector-specific legislation is needed. What is at stake is too important to be handled with soft measures. A principles-based legislation underpinned by specific technical and legal requirements is needed to guarantee equal access to the vehicle, its data, functions, and communication with the users. This legislation must address the systemic problems which have unequivocally been identified over the last years. It must be efficient and robust enough to remain relevant over several years. The specificities, the complexity and the importance of the automotive market require a sector-specific legislation and cannot be addressed in the broader horizontal initiatives in the framework of the European Data Strategy.

There is a simple solution: mandating a Secure On-Board Telematics Platform (S-OTP). The S-OTP is a set of requirements based on equipment which is already in the vehicle and on existing standards, involving no additional device. It puts the consumers in control, enabling them to freely choose which service providers have access to which technical data and for which purpose. Only services which are independently assessed, tested, and approved could be chosen by the consumers. It is fully in line with the European Union’s objectives in terms of data privacy, cybersecurity, digitalisation, and enhancement of road mobility. We have published earlier this year a detailed technical description of what the S-OTP would be and how it would work, and today we release a set of videos to explain it in a shorter way. This video explains clearly how digitalisation is transforming road mobility, how the S-OTP is the perfect solution for the challenges arising from this trend, and what its benefits are for the consumers, the economy and society at large.

We urge the European Commission to publish an ambitious and comprehensive legislative proposal on “Access to In-Vehicle Data” by the first quarter of 2022, to safeguard true consumer choice, innovation, and effective competition for digital automotive services.