Perhaps the older ones among you still remember: once upon a time, long ago, workshops were actually still used to drill in screws... Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, of course. But I am sure you will agree with us when we say: the scope of tasks of workshop professionals has changed noticeably in recent years. New job titles such as ‘automotive mechatronics engineer’ are just one indication of this. Fuelled by the energy crisis, e-cars with special requirements are now also found on the lifting platform more frequently. But the proportion of electronic components is also increasing in vehicles with classic combustion engines. Finally, digitalisation and automation are increasingly making their way into the automotive industry in the form of Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS) – and with them come new challenges for workshops. In its June newsletter, the European Garage Equipment Association (EGEA) takes a closer look at what these are in detail.
You have probably already repaired or serviced driver assistance systems in your workshop. The likelihood is that you will encounter these Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS) even more often in the future: an EU regulation stipulates that the Emergency Brake Assist and the Emergency Lane Keeping Assist will be mandatory standard equipment in new cars in the future. The E-Call automatic emergency call system has been standard in all new vehicles since 2018. Advanced ADAS systems such as Lidar, a form of three-dimensional laser scanning, are another step towards autonomous driving. There is no harm in having IT skills for other areas too. Modern cars are increasingly developing into high-performance computers on wheels. Instead of several decentralised control units, car manufacturers are relying on a central server that bundles together the electronic functions in the vehicle. This results in new potential for apps and exchanging data.
No question about it: new technologies provide vehicle occupants with greater comfort and a lower risk of accidents. But the EGEA also sees new responsibilities for you: in the future, it will no longer be just about worn brake pads, defective V-belts and the like, but increasingly about digital services. "Diagnostics, calibration equipment and high-voltage expertise are becoming the standard in the industry," the EGEA newsletter says.
However, the trend towards digitalisation not only brings advantages, but also opens the door to uninvited guests. We are talking, of course, about possible cyberattacks. Unauthorised persons could gain access to private data or take over complete control of the hacked vehicle. A nightmare scenario that preoccupies politicians. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has issued cyber guidelines R155 and R156 to protect car owners from hacker attacks. The guidelines essentially require vehicle manufacturers to have a cyber security management system and a software update management system for new type approvals. In practice, this means limited diagnostic access to the OBD port for many workshops. Affected workshops even need authorisation for simple activities, such as reading out a fault code or replacing a component. Access authorisation is only available with the relevant certificates.
As the EGEA writes in its newsletter, it is in intensive discussions with the EU Commission, vehicle manufacturers and other aftermarket organisations to find a workable solution for all aftermarket participants.