OBD trackers: what future awaits them
EENews Automotive recently has published an article with a provocative title: “German car industry plans to close OBD interface”. The news has stir up aftermarket industry and particularly GPS tracking. After all, the diagnostic port blocking might cut a substantial part of OBDII gadget market.
Initially, the OBD standard was created and adopted in the US to regulate exhaust gases into the atmosphere. Manufacturers actively began to provide cars with electronics. The constant monitoring of all electronic engine components was required.
Afterwards, the functionality of the diagnostic port has been expanded. The port is no longer only for diagnostics use. Telematics has also decided to use OBD in its favor. Today, if you connect a GPS tracker to OBD, you can receive a huge amount of vehicle data online: speed, mileage, tachometer values, fuel level, seat belts use etc.
The idea to use the growing volume of OBD data has become a ground for numerous services and applications. This includes a separate segment of the GPS monitoring market — OBD scanners to diagnose a car and optimize its expenses and insurance telematics as well. It seems that the automakers saw in this rapidly growing market a profit part that is slipping through their fingers. So, the carmakers decided to start OBD blocking.
“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.
However, the data will be available to third parties that are interested in. The automakers themselves will create a server that of course will be under their control. The information from all connected vehicles will be accumulated there. The data will be classified into groups: traffic safety, data enabling brand-specific services, vehicle system monitoring data, and privacy-relevant user data. The interested counterparty, for example an insurance company will be able to request the information from the servers and most likely all this will cost some money.
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