German car industry plans to close OBD interface

April 06, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
German car industry plans to close OBD interface
The discussion about the question who owns the data generated by cars might come an end. At least this is what comes in sight if a proposal from the German automotive association VDA gets through: The proposal calls for a neutral cloud-based entity that categorizes, controls and distributes these data.

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.

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