The car of tomorrow will increasingly become a digital companion. This means that it must not only be roadworthy and reliable, but also secure where its data are concerned. Daimler AG already offers various digital services for the networked vehicle today. The Extended Vehicle concept at Daimler AG fundamentally rests on three pillars: Remote Diagnostic Support, Mercedes-Benz Data and Data via Neutral Server.
Remote Diagnostic Support: remote diagnostic functionalities for authorised third parties
As of December 2018, on customer request, access to vehicle fault codes are available to independent third-party providers in line with the European type approval regulations.
In this case Daimler will make all fault codes from the installed control units available to third-party providers for the use case “Remote Diagnostic Support” (RDS). This means that they can produce a remote diagnosis for networked Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The consent of the Mercedes-Benz customer to purpose-defined data access by an independent third-party provider is mandatory, and is given via the respective portals, e.g. Mercedes me for digital passenger car services or Mercedes Pro for digital van services. Only those data are transferred that are necessary for remote diagnostics and are to be made available on the express wish of the customer. Mercedes-Benz customers can withdraw their consent to data transmission at any time in the respective portals. Customers therefore always have transparency about which third-party provider has consent for access to specific vehicle data, and can change their mind at any time.
Mercedes-Benz data make innovation and new business models possible
Completely new and as of December 2018, vehicle data specifically for other services are available for the first time via an interface for Mercedes-Benz data products. These data products from Mercedes-Benz Data are in principle available to any third-party provider wishing to offer services based on vehicle-generated data. This ensures fair competition between all market participants with respect to services. At the same time it makes new business models and innovations possible for customers. With this new package, Mercedes-Benz customers always have decision-making power and transparency about which third-party provider they grant access to their vehicle data, and for what purpose. They are always able to control access to and use of their data by consenting to access by third parties or withdrawing consent at any time.
Vehicle-generated data are made available by the so-called Extended Vehicle Concept. There is no direct access to the vehicle by third parties, but only to the backend server of the vehicle manufacturer. This comprehensively ensures operating safety as well as data security.
The data products from Mercedes-Benz Data are made available in stages via a standardised interface. In the first stage users of the Mercedes-Benz data interface obtain data from Daimler for the following use cases, provided that the vehicle owners concerned have given Daimler their consent to this:
- Pay-as-you-drive Insurance: The data package includes the current odometer reading of the networked Mercedes-Benz cars.
- Fuel Status: The data package provides information about the fuel level and the remaining vehicle range.
- Vehicle Status: The data package contains information about the status of (not) open doors, open windows or sliding sunroof.
- Vehicle Lock Status: The data package provides information about the locking status of the vehicle (locked/unlocked) and its current direction by means of a compass function.
- Electric Vehicle: This data package is intended solely for electric vehicles, and includes the battery charge status and remaining vehicle range.
Neutral server as a further source of data
Furthermore, the above five use cases will also be available via so-called “neutral servers” as of December 2018. With this further data source, Daimler is the first OEM to implement the Extended Vehicle and Neutral Server concept in full measure according to the agreement between the VDA (German Automobile Industry Association) and the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association). The aim of this agreement is to allow free competition between independent third-party providers and the vehicle manufacturers.
Neutral servers are operated by independent companies which have a contractual agreement with a subsidiary of Daimler AG offering digital services. In the contract, the operators of these neutral servers e.g. affirm that their data processing in Europe meets all the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation. On the customer’s request, and following his/her consent to Daimler and the third-party provider, purpose and use case related data packages are made available to third-party providers from the backend server and via the neutral server. These data are merely routed through the neutral server, without the data being saved or otherwise processed beyond the intended purpose. In the process the third-party providers and their business models are not known to Daimler and the Daimler subsidiaries, but only to the operators of the neutral servers.
The following also applies to the neutral servers: access to customer data is exclusively via interfaces in the Daimler Vehicle Backend – no direct access to Daimler vehicles is possible. Risks to operating and vehicle safety are avoided by this closed-loop connection between the vehicle and the manufacturer’s backend server.
Data access realised for third parties while safeguarding data protection for customers
With these two packages via the Mercedes-Benz Data Product interface and neutral servers, the Daimler group honours its voluntary commitment arising from the VDA and ACEA position paper. Furthermore, the data are made available on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to time and quality. In the future Daimler AG will make further data categories available, so as to allow the realisation of business ideas by third-party providers. The foremost consideration during implementation is however always the customer’s right to protection.