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News | 16.07.2020

Over-the-Air: The New Trend In Vehicle Monitoring And Maintenance

“Over-the-Air” (OTA) is the new buzzword in vehicle monitoring and maintenance for vehicles of all categories.

OTA conveys the notion that updating a vehicle’s software will become as easy and unobtrusive as updating a smartphone. The smartphone analogy implies that OTA is mainly focussing on software updates, thus flashing of a vehicle’s ECUs (FOTA). But OTA is applicable and will be applied to a much larger range of diagnostic tasks.

Continuous monitoring of vehicle health will allow predictive and thus preventive maintenance, and consequently will improve advance workshop planning. Extraction and analysis of vehicle data will create short-term benefits regarding fleet management, as well as long-term benefits for the overall quality and efficiency of a vehicle type. These tasks are also known and already in-use as “telematics”, but the new drive for permanent OTA functionality in a vehicle will give a new boost to telematics as well.

Remote workshop diagnostics will significantly shorten standstill times of vehicles because expert technician support can be provided without the time-consuming need for a vehicle to come to the workshop technician, or for the workshop technician to come to the vehicle. Based on OTA diagnostics, new improved service scenarios will become possible like e.g. cooperative diagnostics and diagnostic control centres. Cooperative Diagnostics allow for an on-site technician and a remote service expert to jointly fix a problem on the same vehicle. Diagnostic control centres combine the functionality of continuous monitoring and cooperative diagnostics in order to supervise an entire vehicle fleet, and to maximize its availability.

Over-the-air update of software, including flashing of ECUs but also their parameterization, calibration, configuration, or function activation will provide a quick and reliable way to improve the vehicle’s overall behaviour and to fix problems. It will also allow for new business models of providing new functionality (“software as a product”) and behaviour exactly and immediately when it is needed, and even for a limited time of use.

With OTA, the provision of monitoring and maintenance for vehicles does not only affect the vehicle itself, but also the IT infrastructure and IT processes of vehicle manufacturers. New means of communication, of data exchange, of interfaces, of software, of servers and clouds must be provided.

ServiceXpert Gesellschaft für Service-Informationssysteme mbH has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of vehicle diagnostics. These range from onboard ECU diagnostics to diagnostic systems and online after-sales portals. ServiceXpert’s technology is used by big manufacturers to provide all types of workshop information “over-the-air” via an online portal. ServiceXpert’s own diagnostic system DiaMon is also ready for OTA: It has a webservice-based architecture, can run inside a vehicle’s ECU, and is providing cooperative diagnostics already today. ServiceXpert’s diagnostic consultants work together with vehicle manufacturers to analyse, define, and introduce new processes and systems to integrate OTA into the manufacturer’s world. ServiceXpert customers appreciate process oriented competence and technical know-how of the ServiceXpert diagnostic team, regardless of their company size, production numbers and the physical size of their vehicles.

ServiceXpert, an ESG-Group company, employs over 85 staff in Hamburg and Munich. ServiceXpert is a Europe-wide operating system and software house with a focused service portfolio for Lifecycle management of EE information for leading manufacturers of commercial vehicle and their supplier industry.