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The fight for choice, data access in the aftermarket

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 06:00
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DEARBORN — Preserving the consumers’ freedom of choice for vehicle repairs and maintenance and data accessibility is an ongoing battle, and one that industry associations and representatives are fiercely fighting.

Bill Long (left) and Bill Hanvey

Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, sat down with Bill Long, president and CEO of the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), during the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Vision conference in Dearborn, Mich., on April 3 about the steps being taken to ensure freedom of choice and access to data continues.

Hanvey first tackled the status of Right to Repair (R2R). When the current R2R legislation was approved in Massachusetts in 2013, telematics was excluded because at the time, the industry wasn’t sure what it was and the potential, he said. Also, every OEM’s definition of telematics and the data available was, and remains, different. Now the associations are partnering to build on the R2R brand.

“What we are trying to do together is preserve our industry, but when we get the right to that data, what can our industry be. We are trying to preserve our growth and efficiency,” Hanvey said. 

New legislation proposed in late 2018 seeks to amend the 2013 law and includes some key elements: standardization of the mechanical and diagnostic data to and from the network of the vehicle; for model years 2022 and further to allow the repairer to access that data with a mobile device (scan tool, tablet, phone, etc); it requires that consumer be notified that their data is being stored and transmitted; and dictates how that notification will be sent to the consumer informing that their data is being stored and transmitted.

Currently, the legislation has 55 cosponsors, but the OEMs are working with lobbyists to fight this on the cybersecurity side, Hanvey said.

Also, a coalition — the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coaltion, which includes not only aftermarket trade groups like the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Service Association, but also the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality (CARE), rental car companies, fleet groups, telematics companies and consumer groups, among others — is working to build this as a consumer data privacy issue.

The coalition believes Congress should have lead the role in establishing standards for open data access for vehicle owners for all data generated, collected and stored by vehicles, Hanvey said. With the start of the 116th Congress in 2019, the Coalition supports enactment of legislation that safeguards the rights of vehicle owners to:

  • securely access and control their vehicle data, including authorizing access by third parties;
  • directly, through in-vehicle access, in real-time;
  • through a technology-neutral, standards-based, secure interface;
  • that provides interoperable and bi-directional communication with the vehicle

“It is important to get the consumer on our side. The rights of vehicle owners to control and access data generated by their vehicles is too important to be left unaddressed by Congress," Hanvey said. The Coalition supports bi-partisan legislative efforts to establish a framework for securing the continued rights of vehicle owners — and the entities that secure the express permission of the vehicle owners — to control and access vehicle-generated data on a real-time, secure and competitive basis."

Secure data
As one of the main concerns impacting data access is security, the Auto Care Association, in partnership with Q-Free, Concepts & Services Solutions (CSC); OnBoard Security; Green Hills Software/Integrity Security Services (GHS/ISS); and CarMD/Innova, created the Secure Vehicle Interface (SVI), which was first debuted at AAPEX 2018 in Las Vegas. SVI “is a collection of technical design standards that ensure vehicle data interfaces always enable safe, secure and standardized consumer access and control of the data their car generates, Hanvey said at the time of the interface's debut last fall. “If a car owner is unable to directly access and control the data their car produces, then they can’t determine where or how they have their vehicle serviced. This would mean greater inconvenience, greater cost and fewer options for taking care of their vehicle.”

The next step of SVI is “how do you insure that cybersecure handshake between the device and the vehicle?” Hanvey said. The interface creates different levels of data access based on your role (shop, insurer, consumer, etc.).

Despite the challenges, and others that may be to come — such as encrypted software and data, Long said — the industry must instill the confidence of the consumers.

“We need to show the motoring public that we are ready for the connected vehicle. That might come in the form of being trained and certified to ensure safe access to the vehicles and the ability to secure and protect data privacy,” Long said.


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