Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


OPTEPLA Report Summary

Project reference: 683765

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OPTEPLA (Open OBDII Telematics Platform - OPTEPLA)

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

With OPTEPLA we intend to develop an open telematics platform based on the OBDII standard consisting of:
- A small and cost effective OBDII device (dongle) for the acquisition and transmission of the entire dataset produced by vehicle’ electronics and built-in sensors and
- An open data platform, which receives, formats and analyses these data making them available to third parties that can develop added value applications and services based on this data, generating an open-data-based service ecosystem.

Currently there is no technical solution in the aftermarket, by which any car manufacturer/model and for every installed electronic control unit (ECU) the communications data can be acquired and exported to an internet environment.

Third party developers will develop innovative connected car applications such as remote car diagnostics and predictive maintenance systems, intelligent driving assistance systems, mapping of CO2 emissions or fine dust concentrations or remote opening/closing car door technology, etc.

Thanks to this technology it will be very simple and cost-efficient to retrofit most of the existing vehicles in Europe (all vehicles that include OBDII, i.e. around 90% of EU passenger cars) allowing them to fully benefit from a wide variety of telematics services.

In the feasibility study of phase 1 AUTOAID has confirmed the following aspects that were considered critical for successful commercialisation of OPTEPLA:
- Feasibility: It is confirmed that it is technically and economically possible to integrate the complex logic of an integrated vehicle diagnostic system into a miniaturized OBDII connector and to reduce its manufacturing costs from currently 120 EUR to less than 10 EUR. AUTOAID will develop and commercialise two different models responding to different customer needs and requirements:
• Bluetooth version: Connectivity depends on the cell phone presence in the car. Very low hardware cost (Commercial price: 10€) and basic functionality (service subscription cost: 19€/year)
• SIM card version: Device permanently and independently connected to the cloud platform. Low hardware cost (Commercial price: 18 €) and full functionality (service subscription cost: 39€/year).
- Competitors:
• Existing competitors face the tremendous complexity beyond the normed OBDII standard derived by the different manufacturer specific protocols and individual diagnostic data needed for each carmaker and model
• Current OBDII dongles are either application-specific closed environments or cannot read the whole communication dataset produced by the car. Therefore, none of existing OBDII dongles offer the possibility to widely retrofit the EU carpark but only a limited subset and with limited functionality since they cannot acquire the whole car dataset.
• OPTEPLA will reduce dongle price by 60-80% with respect to comparable competitors.
- Market readiness: AUTOAID has reached pre-commercial agreements with some of the most representative stakeholders (car workshops and insurance companies) and potential large scale buyers (car renting and car sharing companies) therefore confirming the willingness to buy our product/service.
- FTO and other market barriers: AUTOAID has confirmed freedom to operate as well as elaborated a market introduction plan to overcome potential market barriers.

OPTEPLA will critically contribute to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce the number of deaths by car accidents and to support methods for more effective use of cars and automobile fleets. As consequence of SME instrument phase 1, AUTOAID has confirmed the business opportunity and therefore decided to proceed with phase 2 submission that shall cover the last steps towards market readiness and commercial exploitation of the OPTEPLA dongle and platform that should reach the market by 2018.

Once in the market we expect to reach commercial agreements with stakeholders such as insurance companies, car rental/sharing companies

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Task 1: Technical study
Work performed and results achieved in task 1
The main objective of the technical study in phase 1 was to confirm the technical viability on the OBDII hardware allowing AUTOAID to achieve a cost-effective OBDII-Dongle (I) as an important element of the business plan. The objective was to find out how and with what component the biggest savings can be achieved in the design and manufacturing of the OBDII-Dongle. Further technical analyses have been made on the power consumption (II) on the communication efficiency of the OBDII dongle (III).

I. Feasibility study on OBDII hardware price and size
In order to make a systematic analysis the hardware was divided into four functional areas and analysed separately. For the final conclusion also cross-functional optimisations were analysed. Starting point for cost analysis was the latest AUTOAID vehicle interface for workshops diagnostics which has all physical interfaces installed. The functional dimensions of a multi-brand OBDII diagnostic tool are:
1. Physical interfaces for communication with vehicle bus systems.
2. Power supply as every bus system needs individual voltage (3-16 V).
3. Control logic including CPU and firmware controlling diagnostic functions and real time handling of multiplexer with over voltage protection and electrical shielding.
4. Multiplexer allowing to connect to all of the 16 pins on OBDII.

We then analysed each functional area in the following five dimensions that have an influence on the price:
a) Functional scope
b) Circuit design
c) New Technologies
d) Size
e) Volume

1) Analysis of physical hardware interfaces like CAN etc.
1a) Results on functional scope: When starting to design AUTOAID´s first VCI back in 2010 (v1), AUTOAID analysed the European, Asian and American carpark and determined all physical interfaces that the vehicles used for the diagnostics communication. The company also analysed specialised publications on future technologies of vehicle communications and diagnostics to make sure that new communication interface will be introduced in the automotive sector that haven´t been taken into consideration. After being sure that all the existing and foreseen solutions were taken into consideration AUTOAID started the design of the hardware and went into testing. Today, with more than 2,000 workshops as our customers and over 50k diagnostic scans made, we have the confidence that we did not miss any physical interface and are able to communicate with every passenger vehicle which is currently on the market. Based on the data gathered over several years, we have analysed our hardware against the real world usage and checked the diagnosis made if all interfaces were really used from our customers.

Fig. 1: Table with analysis of diagnosis and percentage of usage (see report attached)

After a detailed analysis of current carpark it turned out that the physical interfaces Low Speed CAN, PWM and VPW are rarely used. By leaving away those three interfaces, a reduction of the bill of material (BOM) is possible. Also rarely used we know from our diagnostic tools that it is important to support all vehicles to maximize user acceptance in the market.
1b) Results on circuit design: We have made an analysis of our current circuit design and parts installed to check if a different design of the circuits for the physical interfaces allows us taking less or cheaper parts. For the PWM and VPWM circuitry, a cost reduction of 97% is possible. This is realized by using standard and therefore cheap transistors and operation amplifiers instead of expensive optocouplers like before. For all other physical interfaces no cost reduction by changing the circuitry can be realized.
1c) Results on new technology: Yes, there are more advanced technologies that lead to lower costs. We have evaluated the option to integrate the physical interfaces into an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This would reduce the costs by 9

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A deep analysis of the background, current scenario and future trends has concluded that the aftermarket potential for retrofitting technology into existing vehicle carpark represents a huge opportunity for AUTOAID.
In this framework the overall and long term goal of OPTEPLA project is to position the car telematics aftermarket retrofitting solution developed by AUTOAID as the reference solution for:
● Large car fleets owners such as car rental and car sharing companies.
● Individual car owners reached through commercial stakeholders such as insurance companies or car workshops.
The main strengths of OPTEPLA are:
● The cost of the equipment: Up to 15 times less than the current technology.
● Wide compatibility that makes it fully operational (acquires the whole car communication dataset) for any carmaker and any model, allowing to create highly valuable new Connected Car applications.
● Its open data cloud-based platform, which will allow any third party to develop added value services exploiting data acquired from cars. This open data platform will generate an apps/services ecosystem around it.
For those purposes three different and representative use cases are going to be developed, tested and demonstrated in operational environment for during phase 2 in the following business cases:
● Business case 1 Car rental / car sharing: OPTEPLA will be installed and tested in a fleet of at least 200 cars from SIXT (car rental) and 200 cars from the car sharing company selected in beta version pilot (20 and 20 respectively in alpha version pilot). Letters of intent attached.
● Business case 2 Insurance company: AUTOAID will be supported by CSI-IT (LoI attached) to set up a pilot in which the following insurance companies will participate (50 and 500 vehicles respectively in alpha and beta version pilots for insurance companies will participate in the demonstrations). Some of the candidate insurance companies will be: (see report attached)
● Business case 3 Car workshop: OPTEPLA will be installed in 20 and 200 vehicles in alpha and beta pilots by Porsche Holding SE (the biggest main dealer of VW, Audi,Seat and Skoda in 26 countries)
● Other relevant stakeholders (100 vehicles each one only in beta version demonstration):
- A.T.U - The biggest independent workshop chain in Europe with over 600 outlets.
- Tech Mahindra - Leading Indian IT company serving automotive OEM customers like Volvo and Nissan.
- ZF Openmatics - Leading automotive supplier and the daughter company openmatics is a leading trucks telematics.

Summary of demonstrations planned: (see report attached)

As socio-economic impact we expect to reach the following indicators by 2023 (5 years after market introduction):
● Almost one million vehicles are monitored by OPTEPLA in the EU and USA (Equivalent to 0.3% market penetration).
● Cumulated revenues over 112 million EUR.
● Cumulated EBITDA over 28 million EUR.
● Internal Return Rate: 86%
● Net Present Value: 10 million EUR.

Finally, OPTEPLA will critically contribute to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce the number of deaths by car accidents, support methods for more effective use of cars and automobile fleets and improve urban mobility.

Related information

Record Number: 186522 / Last updated on: 2016-07-13