Telematics – a closed door for the IAM?

Telematics – a closed door for the IAM?

Back in February the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) alerted aftermarket professionals to a topic of growing importance to the independent aftermarket – Telematics. The organisation has now followed this up by making a new brochure on the subject available for download from the IAAF website.

The latest

Figiefa, working as the coordinator for a wide range of interested parties under the AFCAR banner (Alliance for Freedom in Car Repair) has called upon the EU Commission to ensure fair competition for vehicle telematics services. In particular, Figiefa has stressed that incoming EU ‘eCall’ legislation must maintain equal opportunities for all participants in the automotive aftermarket.

‘eCall’ is part of the new vehicle Telematic technologies which support safety functionalities such as emergency assistance and also breakdown assistance (‘bCall’), but can also provide a wide-ranging array of entertainment and information services, such as route navigation, traffic information, e-mail, web browsing, social media, hotel bookings, or directions to the nearest available parking space or petrol station.

These services and the ability of the car to interface with other connected devices, means that the vehicle is increasingly becoming a part of our daily ‘connected-mobility’.

Wireless telematics technologies allow the vehicle to be permanently accessed and monitored ‘online’ when it is on the road. The telematics system provides a remote bi-directional gateway to the vehicle and its data. The vehicle can send information on a regular basis about its technical status and is able to pro-actively communicate information about a problem as soon as a fault occurs.

Remote control

Currently, only vehicle assemblers (VAs) are able to access the full set of in-vehicle data when remotely communicating with the vehicle through their proprietary vehicle telematics systems used for remote diagnostics, for predictive maintenance or for checking if a service is required.

Vehicle assemblers are also able to remotely communicate with the vehicle to update vehicle settings or software applications without even having to bring it into a workshop (and often without the vehicle owner even being aware).

As such, the proprietary wireless access to the vehicle provides the VAs with privileged ‘online’ information; it gives them a significant competitive advantage in being able to identify potential problems much earlier than ‘offline’ independent service providers.

Independent operators find it difficult to create practical applications across a range of vehicles, which prevents equal access and could thus limit consumers’ freedom of choice to competitive repair and maintenance offers and other services.

This exclusion of the independent automotive sector undermines existing EU legislation and the right of equal access to technical information granted by the Automotive Block Exemption Regulation and the Euro 5/Euro VI Regulation for passenger cars and heavy duty vehicles.

The European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry is currently preparing its proposal for the in-vehicle part of eCall. The text is pro-actively part of a series of legislative proposals making it mandatory that all new models of cars and light vehicles would be fitted with the eCall system from 2015. eCall is an electronic safety system that automatically calls emergency services using the Europe’s single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the vehicle’s location to the emergency services.

Figiefa has always supported the introduction of a European wide eCall system as it will contribute to saving lives on European roads. The IAAF supports Figiefa’s view that any European legislation must ensure that future telematics systems will be based on an inter-operable, secure, standardised and open-access platform. This alone will guarantee that alternative and competitive solutions can be developed, enabling the vehicle owner to choose the service providers of his choice.

The affect upon the independent aftermarket is introduced in a new leaflet available via the IAAF and downloadable from the IAAF website by clicking HERE

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