MOTOR Magazine

A MOTOR Magazine Newsletter
December 8, 2016

Contributed by Bob Chabot
Control of Access to Vehicle Data is at Stake

Will Automakers Share Control With the Aftermarket or Not?

"During the recent 2016 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), which took place recently in Las Vegas, the industry was given a glimpse at what may be the next battleground between automakers and the aftermarket:

The J1962 Interface Doesn't Meet Modern Demands
The 30-year-old J1962 underdash vehicle communications interface (VCI) — which diagnostic service and software reprogramming tools, insurance dongles and other devices plug into — is archaic. J1962 technology can only accommodate one user at a time and it is insecure from hacking and other cyber threats.

The J1962 VCI is also unable to meet the technical communication criteria and functionality required by modern emerging technologies. Examples include telematics, connectivity, advanced driver assist systems, automated driving, intelligent transportation systems, artificial intelligence and deep learning computers.

Fortunately, two new vehicle data communication methodologies — the Extended Vehicle Concept (ExVe) or the Service Vehicle Interface (SVI) — are under development and consideration by the industry global standards organizations; namely, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Both solutions address the shortcomings of J1962 and add other useful enhancements. For example, the J1962 port could be eliminated entirely should legislators, who mandated J1962 VCI for OBD-II emissions related data, once they realize and accept that both new alternatives can provide that information, effectively making J1962 expendable. Both also feature multiple levels of security.

Those seeking more detailed background about the two concepts will find that information in the January 2017 issue of MOTOR Magazine. However, this article will focus on the key differences between the two competing solutions and reaction from representatives of several industry organizations who attended AAPEX 2016.

One key difference between the ExVe and SVI concepts is who will control access to vehicle data and what level of access will be allowed. Currently, as written:

  • ExVe (above) gives automakers exclusive control of access to vehicle data via proprietary off-vehicle cloud-based servers.
  • In contrast, the SVI solution (below) shares control of access to vehicle data equally between the aftermarket and automakers via shared off-vehicle cloud-based servers.

(Image — European Aftermarket Association [ADAC])

Aftermarket Feedback From AAPEX 2016
During AAPEX 2016, MOTOR attended meetings with representatives from the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), SAE and ISO, The Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI), as well as the Auto Care Association (ACA). These organizations are well aware of the two competing solutions. MOTOR asked each to comment; their responses suggest the deadlock over control is escalating.

NASTF: We Don’t Regulate or Steer the Industry
"NASTF is not a regulatory organization,” stated Skip Potter, NASTF’s executive director. “Once a problem has been identified and resolved at some level by the counterparts in the industry — in this case the aftermarket and the OEMs [automakers] — they know they can turn to NASTF to support an implementation of whatever it is they have agreed to do."

"When it comes to how do you resolve the difference between the ISO standard and the still-developing SAE standard for SVI gateways, there is not much NASTF can do until someone decides which solution is going to be used, or if there is some hybrid solution that is going to utilize both of them," he continued. "NASTF stands prepared to take whatever is negotiated or adopted and help implement it so that technicians can continue to repair vehicles. For NASTF, it’s all about ‘how do we manage a technician’s access to service information so that they can fix a car,’ but it’s not up to NASTF to hammer out all the details beforehand that bring us to that point."

"The mission of NASTF is to identify and close any gaps in access to service information, tools and training," added Mark Saxonberg, chairman-elect to the NASTF board of directors. "At this point, the technologies associated with ExVe and SVI aren’t implemented in any cars, and nothing is final. Everyone has to understand that there are dozens of car companies in the world, and they’re all going to implement technology they feel is best for making their products competitive and viable in the future."

"I don’t think NASTF can steer the industry one way or the other. But the one thing you can count on is that the industry is going to continue to support the aftermarket in the spirit of right-to-repair per the 50–state Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). As telematics becomes a major way of delivering service information, you can expect that principle to continue,” Saxonberg added.

SAE and ISO: ExVe Continues to March Toward a November 2018 Vote
Greg Potter, executive manager of the ETI, attends SAE and ISO meetings pertaining to ExVe and SVI and also serves as the co-chair of the NASTF Equipment and Tool Committee. He commented on ETI's perspective, the wording of the MoU and the current status of the new methodologies at the SAE and the ISO.

"ETI member firms build the automotive tools, equipment, devices and third-party service repair information products that bridge automakers and aftermarket service repair facilities," Potter said. "We’ve been telling automakers for a few years now: ‘Get rid of your individual proprietary systems. They add unnecessary complexity to servicing vehicles."

"The wording of the 50-state MoU, as it's written, is not precise enough,” Potter shared. “Without clear definitions and boundaries, realizing any intent could be difficult. Making the Mo an effective marketplace reality today needs continued good-faith collaboration between automakers and the aftermarket. But without more precise wording, there’s no guarantee of mutually satisfactory solutions."

Case-in-point? The newest reprogramming standard, J2534 Version 05:00, which was introduced by Potter one year ago at the 2015 NASTF Fall Meeting, still hasn't been implemented, nor has the MoU resolved that delay. The 2016 NASTF Fall Meeting featured a panel on J2534 device manufacturers; none introduced Version 05:00 devices. Clearly, the wording of the MoU must be beefed-up for it to be an effective industry agreement, whether for J2534, access to vehicle data or any other issue.

"The SVI concept has been mothballed at the SAE," he noted. "Development of SVI by the SAE ended years ago when the automakers first rejected the concept. Officially, while the SAE supports the SVI concept, no further development of the concept has been done since. In addition, the SAE has a neutral position on ExVe. It is neither for nor against ExVe, nor is it developing any associated standards for ExVe."

"The ISO continues to support and develop the ExVe concept,” Potter explained. “Technical Committee 22 is administering the development of the ExVe concept via two projects: Project 20077 is developing standards, while Project 20078 is developing the necessary web services. ExVe has strong backing from the ISO’s automaker members, including Audi/VW, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Opel, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault-Nissan, Volvo and others."

"In June 2016, a group of aftermarket ISO members submitted a revised SVI model to the ISO for consideration that shared control of access to vehicle data equally between automakers and the aftermarket via shared cloud-based servers," Potter advised. "The original version of SVI at the SAE didn't include servers, but that was before cybersecurity had become a serious concern. While the aftermarket proposal received some limited support elsewhere within the ISO, Technical Group 22 rejected it outright. ExVe continues to track toward the ISO’s scheduled November 2017 vote for approval, publication and implementation."

The ISO’s Technical Committee 22 began administering the development of the ExVe concept in 2013, as shown in the ISO’s ExVe timetable above. Note that ExVe is scheduled for an adoption vote in November 2017 and implementation in early 2018. (Image — ISO)

ACA: ExVe is a Threat to Vehicle Serviceability in the Aftermarket
The lessons learned from the history of right-to-repair and the vehicle software copyright near-miss at the U.S. Copyright Office are not lost on the aftermarket. "Control of access to vehicle data cannot be allowed to be solely in the control of automakers," stated Bill Hanvey, Auto Care Association (ACA) president and CEO. "The ExVe concept gives automakers full and exclusive control of access to vehicle data and what level of access is allowed. It’s absolutely critical that the aftermarket have equal and unrestricted access to vehicle data, software and other information."

"ExVe is a serious threat to vehicle serviceability by the aftermarket, so the ACA rejects the ExVe concept," he noted. "Instead, the ACA supports the SVI concept, because it shares access to vehicle data equally between automakers and the aftermarket. The aftermarket also understands that the fastest and most effective route to a methodology that works for everyone is to negotiate an agreement that works for both the automakers, the aftermarket and their respective associations."

"To that end, the ACA has been working with other aftermarket associations (e.g. AASA, ASA, ETI and others), as well as automakers, international cybersecurity experts, government agencies, regulators, lawmakers and others," he explained. "We have met several times already, have more meetings scheduled, but have yet to reach an amicable agreement."

"Should the negotiations with automakers prove futile, the ACA will implement a consumer advocacy campaign, as it has had to do in the past," Hanvey emphasized. He cited two elements the ACA has developed and is ready to launch in 2017, if necessary:

  • An industry education campaign that will focus on educating the aftermarket and others about the opportunities and threats emerging new technologies pose and why equal access to vehicle data is critical.
  • A full-scale consumer and public advocacy campaign titled “Your Car, Your Data, Your Choice,” designed to supplement the industry program.

“Make no mistake: From a technological perspective, the aftermarket must have a voice and shared control of access to vehicle data.” Hanvey concluded. It is clear that others, notably some automakers, don’t agree. So let me ask: What do you think?

[Editor's note: Visit for the latest diagnostic and service insights.]

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