German car industry plans to close OBD interface

German car industry plans to close OBD interface

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Today, many applications utilizing car-based data are accessing these data across the OBD interface. This access path will be closed bit by bit, said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics at carmaker BMW, at the VDA Technical Congress in Berlin. The access path will only be deactivated when the cars are driving; as long as the wheels stand still, nothing will change. Thus, repair shops can continue to use the interface for diagnosis purposes, which is what the OBD interface has been designed for. Blocking the data path as soon as the car is moving will however cut the access for many service providers that access the CAN bus for many purposes, including for applications the carmakers would like to inhibit. “OBD has been designed to service cars in repair shops. In no way, it has been intended to allow third parties to build a form of data-driven economy on the access through this interface”, explained Grote.


Instead, the data will be made accessible to interested third parties through a neutral server, and basically under control of the automotive industry. The server will categorize the data into five groups; examples are data relevant for traffic safety; data enabling brand-specific services; vehicle system monitoring data, and privacy-relevant user data.

The neutral server will incorporate the principles of data privacy, fair competition and interoperability (the latter referring to the fact that most OEMs are using very proprietary data formats). In addition, this architecture is intended to improve the protection against cyber attacks – after all, many such attacks against vehicles have utilized the OPD port.


The paper introduced has the character of a joint suggestion of the companies organized in the VDA. These does include international carmakers such as General Motors and Ford Motor Company as well as most globally active tier one suppliers. A formal resolution has not been taken yet, but should be expected sometime later this year. Grote explained.



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