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European coalition calls for action on fair digitalisation opportunities


The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) is co-ordinating UK and Ireland activity as part of a broader European-wide coalition that urges the European Commission to introduce legislation that ensures fair remote access to in-vehicle date and functional resources.

The coalition of European federations – representing parts distributors, independent garages, insurers, data publishers, component and equipment suppliers, tyre suppliers, emergency breakdown associations, lease companies, oil and lubricants suppliers, consumers and SME representatives – argues that a legislative solution that ensures access will not only enable innovation but would also improve customer choice in the automotive aftermarket.

Moreover, access to this vehicle data is essential in allowing for effective competition within the market and enabling the EU to become a front runner in connected and autonomous mobility and related services.

The new manifesto argues that independent operators need four key abilities – subject (where relevant) to the consent of the driver / owner of the vehicle – in order to provide competitive, innovative services and digital solutions to their customers.

These abilities are:

  • Independent and direct real-time access to in-vehicle generated data that is not monitored by vehicle manufacturers, including those which are time critical
  • ​Bi-directional communication with the vehicle and its functions, independent from the vehicle manufacturer;
  • Safe, secure and independent remote interaction with the driver, using the in-vehicle human-machine interface functions (e.g. via the dashboard or voice commands);
  • Independent software running directly in the connected vehicle using onboard capabilities to process any dynamically generated data as closely as possible to its source.

However, these would not be possible with the model put forward by vehicle manufacturers, the so-called ‘extended vehicle’, which will channel all future communication and data access through the vehicle manufacturer’s backend server. As such, this would prevent all other service providers ‘around the car’ from offering competing services to consumers, as only a small part of the vehicle generated data will be shared with independent service providers, compared to the data available to the vehicle manufacturer.

In two recent resolutions, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to take legislative action to ensure fair, secure, real time and technology neutral access to in-vehicle data for some third part entries.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “We call on European and national policymakers to present a robust legislative proposal by 2020. By doing so, EU Member States would ensure a competitive services environment and become the leader in connected and autonomous mobility and related services, while at the same time safeguarding its SME-friendly, social and green market economy and benefits to consumers.

“The ability to unleash the innovative and competitive potential of the automotive servicing industry and mobility providers for their services ‘around the car’, must be allowed to continue in the future. We feel it will be detrimental to motorists if the vehicle manufacturers are able to have a monopoly on access to the vehicle’s data/functions and legislation is needed to ensure a level playing field.”