Home > automotive-insights > What are the Trends and Challenges of Telematics Remote Vehicle Diagnostics

Telematics Wire, a media and market research firm in the domain of Vehicle Telematics, recently interviewed Aneesh Adkadkam, Head Automotive (Product Engineering Services), Embitel Technologies.

In this conversation, Aneesh shared details about the trends and challenges faced by Telematics and Remote Vehicle Diagnostics market.

Following are the details of this conversation:

How the use of Telematics & Connectivity is continuously changing the way we manage our vehicles?

One of the key challenges for an OEM to provide aftermarket support is the limited access they have to the vehicle. Any remote diagnostics or preventive vehicle maintenance is possible only when the vehicle is taken to the service station for a scheduled service or repair.

The error/fault code memory in electronic control units (ECU) helps to certain extent only when the vehicle is in service station, but the whole vehicle diagnosis and maintenance is constrained with lack access to vehicle parameters, limited expertise available in the service station and lack of knowledge of how the vehicle is used (driver behavior).

This is where automotive telematics and connectivity helps. An OEM is able to get real-time access to the vehicle.
This helps the OEM to drastically improve the aftermarket vehicle diagnosis and maintenance by providing alerts on potential problem, tips to correct wrong driver behavior, to improve mileage based on the usage pattern and remote support in case of on-road breakdown

What makes telematics-driven vehicle diagnostics useful for a cost-sensitive market like India?

The incremental cost of providing remote diagnostics is not huge. BOM cost of the device will be less than $50. There is an additional cost of setting up cloud-based IT infrastructure and services; however OEMs already have similar infrastructures that connect multiple service stations in place.

The preventive vehicle diagnostics and remote support will also reduce the cost of maintenance of the vehicle.

This particularly helps commercial vehicles market where the opportunity cost of a vehicle under service/repair is huge. In addition there is advantage of getting access to lot of data which can be monetized and this can reduce the overall cost.

Traditionally, Indian fleet managers have been using telematics in its very basic form (track and trace). Do you anticipate a widespread adoption of telematics services by them in future?

Traditional automotive telematics is limited to access to vehicle location information and few other parameters like vehicle speed, engine data.

Connected Car technology helps in accessing a whole gamut of data.

This helps in fleet-management by reducing the cost of operations through preventive vehicle maintenance, remote vehicle diagnosis and support from OEM service team, reduction in fuel consumption, analyzing and correcting driver behavior

These cost advantages should trigger wide-spread adoption of telematics driven remote vehicle diagnostics.

What are the various metrics that are crucial for OEMs (or fleet managers) under remote diagnostic services?

For the OEM, the key parameter is to improve the customer satisfaction through better aftermarket support. The challenge is to make this available at low or no additional cost.

Advantage for the OEM is access to real time data which can be used for improving the product reliability.

Once the vehicle is on-road every vehicle acts as a test vehicle – any vehicle can be monitored for any parameter. This can help in product planning and design, improving the vehicle performance and reliability.

In addition the data can be used for other commercial purposes like targeted sales and marketing, customized insurance plans

Could you share with us details of any recent Telematics or Connected Vehicle project/pilot done with OEMs in India?

Embitel has delivered multiple projects in this area. We have readily available reference design, which can be customized for remote diagnostics implementation and help in reducing the time-to-market.

The reference design includes device (VCI- Vehicle Communication Interface) to access vehicle parameters and DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes), connectivity over 3G/4G and Blutooth, GPS and cloud connected apps (Iphone and Android)

When it comes to vehicle preventive maintenance, what is the value-addition that Embitel offers to the customers?

Our value proposition is our expertise across the entire value-chain of remote vehicle diagnostics from getting the data from the vehicle, making the data available to the cloud servers and application programming.

Embitel has extensive experience working with various control units like engine control units (ECU), body control units, ADAS, Chassis systems and this gives us a good domain knowledge on making these data available for remote diagnostics application.

We have worked on all the major technologies in vehicle networking and diagnostics like CAN, OBD, KWP2000, UDS, J1939 .This along with expertise on embedded technologies like GPS, 3G/4G module integration, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. helps us in providing connectivity solutions.

We also have a strong team working on cloud and mobile technologies, which creates webapps and smartphone apps for both business and consumers.

Globally, there has been a buzz around “autonomous vehicles” . What is your take on this?

Health of the vehicle and subsystems will be a key concern in autonomous vehicles. This will call for real time monitoring of the vehicles for any safety issues and makes remote diagnostics mandatory for such vehicles.

When do you think telematics features would become “must-have” in new vehicles, rather than a nice-to-have feature?

It is NOW, as already some OEMs started offering connectivity solution and using this as a marketing tool especially in passenger car segment. OEMs are already working on various platforms to offer this and partial adoption is likely to happen quickly. Key challenges will be connectivity issues, legal aspects, privacy concerns and cyber security.

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