ETRMA: Vehicle data access a requirement for successful TaaS
When ETRMA called for open access to vehicle data for tyre manufacturers, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturer’s Association had current and nascent Tyres as a Service (TaaS) technology in mind.
Consumers and businesses are already benefitting from Tyre-as-a-Service. App-based microservices can provide vehicle monitoring for individual drivers, while fully-fledged service packages enable the creation of large vehicle data platforms for fleets. These services can help drivers and fleet operators to save fuel, improve safety, increase vehicle uptime and reduce congestion and emissions.
Tyres are a critical link between the vehicle, infrastructure and driver and are uniquely positioned to contribute to safe and sustainable mobility. In applications such as infrastructure quality management enhancement, cooperation between the tyre industry and (local) governments can yield significant gains in tackling congestion, fatalities and pollution. In vehicle platooning, the tyre industry’s proprietary knowledge, sensory data input and vehicle-to-vehicle communication can optimise inter-vehicle distance and fuel consumption while maximising safety.
The concept of Tyres as a Services (TaaS) has been discussed in these pages before, but the industry is moving more and more in this direction. For example, the tyre industry expects that the standardisation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-enabled tyres will be completed at ISO level by next year 2020. This is seen as the first step to make tyres digitally connected and unlock the benefits of TaaS. But there are potential roadblocks on the horizon.
Equal access to data represents one of ETRMA’s two core interests. Firstly, the association it is committed to “sustainability – the reduction of CO2 emissions while improving tyre safety and preserving industry competitiveness – and towards connectivity.” Indeed, in its preface to the report, ETRMA suggests, these two points are “the building blocks that will contribute to shape the tyre and rubber industry of today and tomorrow and which will influence its societal and environmental footprint as well as its position and competitiveness in the world.”
Here’s why ETRMA is so keen on lobbying for non-discriminatory data access: in order to make sure TaaS is the success it could be.
At the moment, most tyre telematics services are about get the most out of the tyre, but moving forward there is scope to do much more. According to the ETRMA report, “better control over tyre health gave rise to the development of a live service that connects to the Cloud through an on-board diagnostics (OBD) dongle and provides functionalities to the user via a smartphone interface (an app)….For example, in insurance with usage-based insurance (UBI) schemes or dedicated TaaS for fleet owners that outsource tyre management.”
This technology also enables users to: monitor several parameters of the vehicle and tyre in real-time; and receive prognostic analytics that provide insight regarding upcoming events; organise road assistance online (eg a tyre fitter).
Of course, all this relies on data. And all the data has to be stored somewhere. To cut a long story short, the data can be stored on-vehicle or in a cloud server. Currently OEMs are promoting “Extended Vehicle” (ExVe) as their preferred option. However, this approach has a number of downsides including: No real-time data transmission; no high-frequency data access; insufficient data sets available; data access controlled by vehicle manufacturers; no direct access to driver; cumbersome consent handling; unfair access to data for third parties; monopolistic behaviour; insight by vehicle manufacturers into data use of third party possible; no bi-directional data transmission. All this led the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conclude in 2017 that “ExVe is the worst of all options”.
In short, TaaS requires both on-board and off-board access, something that puts it in conflict with ExVe and its inherent limitations – the greatest of which being that ExVe offers TaaS applications “no comprehensive data access, which is moreover fully controlled and monitored by the vehicle maker”, according to ETRMA. Without this the full benefits of futuristic applications of TaaS (including platooning) cannot be realised.
Put all this together and you can see why European tyre manufacturers are using their collective voice via ETRMA to call for open access to vehicle data. We already have TaaS, but to take this technology to the next level and to prevent hindrances from systems such as ExVe, changes will need to be made.