Digital Safety in Mobility

When it comes to the general inspection, data play an increasingly important role. DEKRA expert Frank Leimbach demands data trustees to guarantee an independent vehicle inspection in the future.

The aim of the Trust Center Initiative is to introduce a manufacturer-independent vehicle data platform. Photo: istock – nadl

The aim of the Trust Center Initiative is to introduce a manufacturer-independent vehicle data platform. Photo: istock – nadl

In cooperation with other testing organizations, DEKRA has launched the Trust Center Initiative. Its self-stated goal is to introduce a manufacturer-independent vehicle data platform that guarantees direct access to the relevant testing data and system functions of the vehicle. In our interview, DEKRA Representative for Technical Affairs Frank Leimbach provides further insight.

DEKRA solutions: Mr. Leimbach, with the increase in connected and automated vehicles, is the general inspection as we know it a thing of the past?

Frank Leimbach: It is rather the opposite – against this background and with the increasing complexity of vehicles’ systems, regular inspections are more important than ever before. Especially in the case of automated vehicles, the reliable functioning of mechanical components such as steering and braking is absolutely prerequisite to safe mobility, and must be maintained throughout the life of the vehicle. System functions such as lane assist, lane changing, emergency braking and evasive maneuvering are all fulfilled by complex sensors that themselves rely on mechanical components and are therefore dependent on them. Regular inspections by an independent third party have proven a successful approach, and there is good reason to continue with this.

In this regard, what advantages does the Trust Center proposed by DEKRA and other testing organizations present?

Frank Leimbach, Representative for Technical Affairs, DEKRA e. V. Photo: DEKRA Steffen Fuchs

Frank Leimbach, Representative for Technical Affairs, DEKRA e. V. Photo: DEKRA Steffen Fuchs

The main difference between today’s vehicles and those of the future is the further development of the safety-relevant systems fitted in the individual vehicle through ‘over the air’ software updates throughout its life cycle. This means that new or improved functions may be made available to the owner overnight, and possibly only temporarily, meaning that the appropriate test scope depends on the individual equipment level of that specific vehicle. Current system functions and software versions are first only known to the vehicle and manufacturer. For independent testing, however, we require the original, complete and unprocessed data, which should not come to us through the manufacturer’s backend. For this reason, we are calling for individual vehicle data to be transferred to an independent data trustee. It is only through the establishment of a manufacturer-independent platform that we are able to perform our sovereign duty of vehicle inspections.

What opportunities can you see for the Trust Center Initiative?

There is fierce resistance, especially from manufacturers, who favor the so-called NEVADA interface (NEVADA = Neutral Extended Vehicle for Automated Data Access). This provides interested third parties with data through the manufacturer’s backend. However, this data is preselected and as a result no longer complete, and possibly even modified. As the scope of vehicle functions in the future is likely to change continuously, it is critical that we are able to define the data set for the inspection ourselves, based on the current status of the vehicle. Future legislation for automated vehicles is being driven internationally at the UNECE in Geneva. DEKRA is represented here by the umbrella organization for all inspection and technical service providers ‘CITA,’ and fulfils an advisory role. Turning the Trust Center into a reality is dependent on whether we are able to convince legislators that the ‘third party principle’ is one that should survive into the future.

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