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Vehicle Communication Interfaces (VCIs) are the central component when it comes to tester systems accessing the electronic control units (ECUs) that perform a wide range of control and regulation tasks in modern vehicles, including diagnostic functionality.
There are tens of thousands of individual repair shop testers in the field today. On top of that, they are deployed all over the world by different users with different requirements and authorizations. Improper handling can lead to serious damage. This multi-user scenario can only be mastered with an appropriate allocation of tester functions and central administration. Integrated authorization management fits into the core processes and, furthermore, offers additional security.
Global after-sales service networks are available for vehicles and working machinery. The aim is to reduce expensive downtimes and even longer-term failures and thus lower the total cost of ownership (TCO). The focus is on offering highly dynamic, efficient maintenance and repair services. This places special demands on tester availability and secure data exchange. To ensure this, a consistent diagnostic concept and the use of a powerful repair shop tester are essential.
After-sales service provides service networks for vehicles and machinery – often on a world-wide scale. These generally pursue one goal: to reduce downtimes and thus the total cost of ownership (TCO). The core business includes fast, targeted maintenance and repair. This not only requires the use of an efficient repair shop tester, but also places special demands on its worldwide availability and updatability via a modern back end.
Modern heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses but also forestry and agricultural machines or construction equipment, are packed with E/E components that support selfdiagnostic functions and increase the quality of maintenance, service, and repair processes. In service workshops, “right the first try” reduces expensive downtime and saves a lot of money.
This objective is supported by a process that captures the already generated in-vehicle data and sends it to a cloud server for analysis and the creation of vehicle- and/or fleet-specific predictive maintenance sequences. The sequences support the service technician in the predictive maintenance process.
Remote and cloud diagnostic methods will play an ever greater role in future vehicle repairs. Security, which needs to cover all areas of vehicle electronics in terms of access and ommunication with external systems, is of central importance when configuring corresponding concepts. Softing shows the challenges involved in practical implementation and which systems are already available today.
Diagnostic devices are becoming an increasingly important tool for vehicle engineering, but also for manufacturing and troubleshooting. The comprehensive requirements of modern motor vehicles over the entire life cycle also have to be covered. It is therefore not surprising that there is a trend toward using tools with comprehensive functionality, which, at the same time, are easy to use and simple to adapt to different applications.
Diagnostics and Security: Gateways for hackers and how to close them – As long as diagnostics takes place locally, in other words using a cable connection between the diagnostic tester and the diagnostic interface or the vehicle, it is safe to assume that the diagnostic system is basically secure as far as unauthorized access is concerned. But the picture changes as soon as there is a remote data connection over the Internet.
Development projects are increasingly being handled by teams whose members are spread all over the world. Remote Engineering allows efﬁcient networking of global work capacities. However, there are a number of aspects that need to be considered during implementation to ensure a smooth process.
The automotive industry is facing major challenges due to the complexity of electrinc and autonomous vehicles of the future. As a result, work is taking place in global teams, resulting in turn in massive changes in both engineering and the tool landscape used. The key to successful implemenation is a diagnostic functionality unaffected by the limitations of computers.
The wireless and remote connection between a diagnostic tester and a fleet of vehicles can be considered a technical masterpiece, but only if new challenges such as closing security gaps are mastered. The article "Protecting a cyber-physical remote diagnostic communication system against cyberattacks", written by Peter Subke (Director Business Development at Softing Automotive), analyzes the components of the cyber-physical system (CPS) for remote diagnostic communication and provides measures to improve the resilience against cyberattacks.
Vehicle engineering is facing a range of challenges. This is why today manufacturers and their suppliers work together at a global level at which they need to be able to exchange data safely all over the world. The range of vehicles is constantly diversifying while the engineering cycles are becoming ever shorter. Vehicles must be maintained over the entire product life cycle which means that more and more tasks have to be completed in an ever shorter time. Softing offers the perfect diagnostic tool in vehicle engineering, whatever the application case.
Trends like electrified and autonomous driving are leading to paradigm shifts in the E/E architecture. This and the increasing number of variants of electronic control units (ECU) is leading to new challenges in vehicle diagnostics. At the same time this development opens up opportunities for improving the quality of diagnostics and increased efficiency: there will be new ways of diagnosis with even cloud-based systems.
Vehicles of the future will require complex vehicle diagnostics. To satisfy these requirements, Softing now offers a new VCI generation as well as an easy-to-use software component which can be implemented universally for running diagnostic tasks. The combination of the two products covers new use cases and offers users particular benefits.
Today’s vehicles feature a wide range of ECUs. These control and monitor various electronic areas; errors which have occurred are saved permanently. For their evaluation there are all kinds of different requirements in the various phases of the vehicle life cycle. This is why the market needs a flexible vehicle interface to cover these use cases as comprehensively as possible. The new VIN|ING 2000 from Softing Automotive supports both wired and wireless access and, what is more, is already prepared for future remote use.
In the automotive industry, diagnostics for ECUs and vehicle functions is constantly gaining in significance, after all, trends such as (semi-)autonomous driving demand increased predictability of the state of all components involved. An important basis for this is the programming language OTX (Open Test sequence eXchange) which, in the form of standard ISO 13209, describes diagnostic sequences for vehicles. One particular advantage is its suitability for a multitude of different use cases.
Smart data analyzing procedures that support predictive maintenance will help to significantly increase the uptime of heavy-duty vehicles. The “Evolution of Big Data” symposium at SAE COMVEC 2018 addresses such critical topics.
Vehicles are increasingly connecting themselves with their environment: with other vehicles, parts of the infrastructure, the cloud. And this is in fact the key to new functions such as autonomous driving. Together with the increasing electrification of vehicles, this is placing even more demands on diagnostics - but at the same time is also presenting completely new opportunities.
Vehicle diagnostics has been working the same for years: Plug in an adapter and use an expert system to localize the problem. The fault will then be rectified on the basis of the data gained. Updating ECU functions takes place in exactly the same way. In comparison to this procedure, considerable time and cost savings will be able to be made in the future for both functionalities with the extension of the vehicle into the cloud. And this will also lead to a considerable improvement in diagnostic quality.
The increasing complexity of ECU software is seeing a parallel rise in the scope of the diagnostic functionality it has to cover – all the more so since testing is no longer limited to valid diagnostic services and parameters. Rather it is also necessary for the response to invalid service and parameter queries to be included in diagnostics. Testing the temporal communication behavior also has to be covered. These additional requirements play a significant role particularly in access scenarios of remote diagnostics.
VCIs (Vehicle Communication Interfaces) in a number of variations are used throughout the entire vehicle lifecycle so a test system can communicate with the vehicle. The newly developed VCIs of the VIN|ING product family from Softing take the specific requirements of engineering, manufacturing and after-sales service into account. Highly integrated and powerful hardware and software components make it possible to integrate the entire diagnostic system on the VCI. This means the VCIs are perfectly equipped for the various scenarios of remotely accessing a vehicle.
ODX (Open Diagnostic data eXchange) and OTX (Open Test sequence eXchange) standards are very well established description formats for diagnostics in the automotive and related vehicle industries.
In the past, the support of OEM-specific data was usually hard-codes in the software in each individual diagnostic tool - particularly in the case of "higher" diagnostic functions. A new technology makes it possible for users to configure any adaptions required for the various authoring guidelines themselves and then re-use these for all tools.
In the past, the lack of standards led to high costs and increasingly became a stumbling block to ever faster engineering cycles. Today, diagnostic data and sequences for standard-based systems in Engineering, Manufactoring and After-Sales Service only have to be created once.
Due to ever more complex electronic systems and the constantly growing volume of data in vehicles, vehicle access for diagnostics and ECU programming has to be correspondingly efficient.