Vehicle maintenance and repair diagnostics is moving to Internet

Drivers, fleet organisations and vehicle leasing companies are being offered increasingly intelligent (ICT) services wirelessly. One important applications area that is currently developing is the receiving of repair diagnostics data and maintenance times wirelessly in advance. This makes the maintenance and repair process more efficient and convenient as well as saving unnecessary driving and working time. It also helps leasing companies to take care in keeping to the correct maintenance times, which increases the reselling value of a vehicle.

Two reasons for why these connected services have remained poorly developed have been the lack of specific software protocols and the difficulty to connect to the OBD (On Board Diagnostics) II port in cars. All cars have this interface to connect with specific diagnostics devices and software at vehicle repair and maintenance centres. However, the positioning and software protocols of the interface vary between different car models and car manufacturers make continuous updates. This has been a big challenge especially outside the USA. From 2008 all new cars have used the same CAN-protocol for the OBD II port, which has made the connection to different car models a little better to handle. This in turn has made it easier to build telematics (wireless) applications with a telematics unit connected to the OBD II port.

New developments with OBD II protocols have made it simpler to develop and introduce services, where repair centres, leasing companies or fleet organisations receive repair and maintenance information any time necessary from cars. Providers of telematics devices, like Aplicom, supply OBD II connection devices with telematics units and service providers can build needed services. These include a remote diagnostics service for drivers to show when something is wrong with the vehicle and advance maintenance information for repair and leasing companies.

This development will move the whole diagnostics of cars, presently performed with OBD equipment in repair centres, to the Internet. This means that one can receive up-to-date information and to a place independent from the position of the car. This will be an important revolution in car maintenance and will enable the moving of processes and bring new services to wireless telematics service providers.