ADAXO concept

    An interface for countless information

    Vehicle data are a source of innovation and a core pillar of modern mobility. They also make a big contribution to road safety. VDA expert Dr Joachim Göthel explains how this valuable information can be made available securely and fairly.

    Vehicle data are a source of innovation and a core pillar of modern mobility. They also make a big contribution to road safety. VDA expert Dr Joachim Göthel explains how this valuable information can be made available securely and fairly.

    Mileage, reach, battery charge: Modern cars generate high amounts of data every day. They provide not just car manufacturers, but also suppliers and interested companies with valuable information about the cars, allowing them to make new products faster and more customer-oriented. 

    The matter of how to make generated data accessible is crucial, and the VDA has thought heavily about this – and presents a contemporary and futureproof process for exchanging vehicle-generated data between all involved parties with the ADAXO concept. ADAXO is an acronym meaning “automotive data access, extended and open”.

    VDA expert Dr Joachim Göthel is Senior Consultant at the Security and Data Coordination Office and Director of the Data Task Force. In our interview with him, he explains the idea behind ADAXO, what makes the process particularly secure, and why data can even save lives.

    What role do vehicle-generated data play in the future of the automotive industry?

    The automotive industry is investing a lot in data-driven business models and interconnected cars. We believe in the great opportunities opened up by the use and exchange of data. For example, take autonomous driving, carsharing, or smart traffic management. All these innovations are based on data produced by vehicles. It is thus all the more important to find a uniform regulation for how the market accesses this information.

    The VDA considers this very access regulation in its ADAXO concept. What is the reason for this?

    At the VDA we believe that data generated within the car should be provided via a single, Internet-compatible interface. If multiple interfaces are present in a vehicle, security risks and access problems become more frequent. We provide recommendations for how this interface should look in our ADAXO concept.

    So ADAXO is not a small platform that users can pull data from. Instead, it’s about the technical possibilities and basic concepts with which third parties can access the data. Our goal is to provide relevant vehicle data to multiple market participants under fair conditions.

    Which data are of importance to the industry, and what are they needed for?

    Modern vehicles generate around 25 gigabytes of data material per hour – and the wealth of the information is just as great. It includes simple information like mileage, speed, location, and rotational frequency. Vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers evaluate the charge level of batteries or available reach of electric cars as well as driving and braking behaviour. They can use this information to further develop the technology and vehicles, while interested companies can offer entirely new, data-driven services.

    Millions of cars in Europe are connected to large vehicle manufacturers’ servers in this manner. The real strength of the concept lies in the openness concerning the type and quantity of transferrable data, which facilitates an immense variety of innovative potential applications. Data can also be provided to insurance providers, financing companies, and public institutions like federal and state authorities or the EU. I think that the process will be of interest to future business models and applications that we haven’t yet thought up.

    And how does the end consumer benefit?

    It is useful for vehicle users and owners if service and maintenance parameters can be logged – they can monitor their car’s condition via app or dashboard display. If issues or problems arise, like decreasing tyre pressure, a warning is displayed. 

    Alertness detection in state-of-the-art vehicles analyses the body and eye movements of the driver and triggers an alarm if the driver is no longer fit to drive. In the future, a vehicle could also determine how the person behind the wheel is feeling: Circulatory or cardiac issues would then be detected by special sensors on the steering wheel. Such health screenings while driving could significantly improve road safety.

    Data like health information are extremely sensitive. What is ADAXO doing for data protection and cyber security?

    Data security is our utmost priority. First, the driver’s consent is required to forward sensitive information to the car owners. The interface is also ISO-compliant, meaning that data access is regulated by corresponding business-to-business agreements or other agreements, and the European Union’s GDPR is also adhered to.

    These requirements also increase cyber security both for the providers as well as for the data recipients. One single interface is also less complex. We wish to protect vehicles users and passengers from additional, unsafe expansions that are implemented into the vehicle later on and for which the responsibility is not clearly regulated. We have explained further advantages in detail in the position paper on ADAXO.

    How does the technical forwarding of data work with ADAXO?

    ADAXO is based on the “extended vehicle” concept that we introduced in 2016. Then, as now, it comes down to the secure transfer of vehicle-generated data to OEM servers. It is based on the idea of providing, electronically forwarding, and using the data via a single web interface known as the ExVe Web Interface. Such an interface is present in all modern vehicles. In this application the data are forwarded via ExVe to a neutral web interface of third parties, i.e., a virtual data space.

    We at VDA thus do not see any necessity in storing the data in a separate location and offering them to third parties via interim interfaces, as this entails extreme effort and expense. We are focused on the direct forwarding of the data.

    Why was a further expansion of the NEVADA concept necessary?

    For us it’s always important that we respond to market developments. The central approach of NEVADA was to provide data to various parties via neutral servers. Over time, new initiatives like the data spaces formed at the European level. We had to address these developments so that we could have a concept that can withstand the political environment.

    ExVe has been used reliably for years. Because we have faith in the concept of one single interface, ADAXO is based on this idea. Our new challenge lay in redescribing the field after data diversion. A data room is now a very general but powerful construct that we have to evaluate differently along the entire value-added chain. In the expanded concept, the diverted data are offered to various players under fair conditions. While an OEM uses the data, they are available to other recipients via a contractually regulated business-to-business relationship.

    What are the upcoming political decisions on the topic of vehicle-generated data?

    The European Commission aims to further monitor and promote the exchange of data within the industries more than ever. A draft of the sector-specific regulation for the automotive industry, i.e., for access to vehicle-generated data, is expected in October 2022. The European Commission has already appealed to various stakeholders, associations, and special interest groups for statements. Our ADAXO concept is an outstanding groundwork for further political discussion.​