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10/07/2015

EGEAnet and the Vehicle Information Platform

Computer links between workshop equipment and devices have been a requirement for some time now and something much sought after by vehicle repair and maintenance professionals to effectively manage the huge amount of technical data and catalogs, not to mention customer management. Added to this, the new vehicle inspection tests performed within the new boundaries set by the MCTCNet2 protocol, following the requirements of the European Directive 2014/45.

EGEA’s 10th Working Group has been operating for over a year now to define a European standard of communication in order to create a connection between garage equipment supplies and computers, whether in the workshop or operating in remote mode, whatever the application. Taking into account current alternatives, the 10th WG also examined the possibility of creating a standard European protocol based on the development of existing systems, acquiring the intellectual property and developing them according to the expected target. This would undoubtedly create a new European standard, known as EGEAnet, whose most important feature, in addition to flexibility, would be the fact of being "open source", that is, freely accessible to anyone who wants to write dedicated applications.

Such a standard would make vehicle repair and maintenance operations easier, faster and possible to be performed even across borders, as workshops would be able to exchange a specific vehicle’s data though located in different countries, and could therefore constitute a basis for the gathering and recording of information related to periodic vehicle inspections, much in line with what the EU Directive 2014/45 hopes for.

Just a few days ago, the study sponsored by the European Commission (DGMOVE) on creating an IT platform for cars (VIP - Vehicle Information Platform) came to a conclusion, in order to establish an instrument through which the exchange of vehicle registration and inspection data is possible among member countries. The analysis, carried out on behalf of Unisys, substantially examines three types of technical data exchange: first between the different EU institutions involved, second with vehicle manufacturers, and last but not least between Member States. Each entity or group involved in the process could access via the web any information deemed necessary; for example equipment manufacturers, through the VIP, would be able to directly access vehicle inspection data, made available by the manufacturers themselves.

One of the conclusions of the study is that, considering the national standards already existing in some countries (Italy and France) and seeing the considerable development costs involved, rather than creating a comprehensive ad hoc system, it would be advisable to develop the already existing systems, although different , balancing them to the highest possible degree.

The question is: how can different information from different member states using different protocols with little if anything in common succeed in combining with each other?

Ultimately, Unisys’ study, concerned at first with establishing a common IT platform, provides general guidelines rather than answering the question.

Therefore, the study managed by EGEA’s 10th  Working Group acquires importance in this context: in the end these two issues are not alternative. Wherever a system is already operative, i.e. Italy’s MTCTNet2 or the upcoming OTCLan in France, the realization of a common IT platform would be rather simple. On the other hand, countries currently lacking similar instruments might look at EGEAnet as a possible solution, especially considering how this will not be limited to vehicle inspections only, but could include any activity in the vehicle repair and maintenance sector.   



EGEA: new Secretary General and association activities


March 24 was the date of the EGEA (European Garage Equipment Association) general meeting in Warsaw, where the appointment of  Eléonore van Haute as the new Secretary General was announced.

Ms. Van Haute is a European Affairs specialist with a 6- year experience in the field of public affairs and the automotive aftermarket. She was Head of EGEA’s policies as well as Director of EGEA and FIGIEFA (International Federation of Independent Spare Parts Distributors) in Brussels. In recent years, she has been working intensely on a number of sensitive issues for the industry, such as those related to free access to repair and maintenance data, legislative revisions at European level as well as  the technological edge of the industry, such as new engines and “connected Vehicles”. A Belgian citizen, Van Haute completed her training in Belgium, England, France and Spain.

EGEA, and Its Italian member association AICA, wish Eléonore every success and take the opportunity to thank the former Secretary General, Sylvia Gotzen, for the remarkable work performed with great professionalism and passion.

The accomplishments of the various working groups came under the assembly’s lens.

The 1st WG, which deals with lifting equipment, officially requested, in January 2015, the ECS (European Committee for Standardization) to review the current standards; the first step is to involve all the national standardization bodies (UNI for Italy); technical committees will perform the necessary examinations, and if at least 5 favorable opinions are recorded, the standards reviewing process will start.

The most important activity at the moment is undoubtedly the one currently performed by the 2nd WG, dealing with diagnosis and emissions, and access to vehicle technical data. The matter is particularly complex because, besides Community law issues, it must deal with positions that are not always favorable, as with car manufacturers for example, increasingly cautious on the subject. The proposal from the 2nd WG, for the short term at least,  is to use a shared server for both manufacturers and independent operators to be managed by a third independent qualified operator. This would represent a temporary solution until the IT exchange platforms will be fully operational.

The 2nd WG updated also the other members on the study on sustainable emission tests, promoted by the European Commission, which has the goal of establishing appropriate thresholds for the amount of PM and CO in the exhaust gas; the study looked at the average emission values and is working on a cost / benefit assessment.

As far as suspension tests, which is the research field of the 6th WG, steps forward have been made thanks to three test sessions during 2014, where vehicles were tested under normal periodic inspection activities. What appeared in conclusion was the necessity to define at EGEA level specs for a single standard for suspension tests.

The 7th WG, in charge of marketing, has embarked on a study of the garage equipment market at EU level. In early March AICA, ASA and EGEA signed with Wolk and Leo-Impact Consulting an agreement for the supply of data on equipment production and sales. This three-year agreement will generate periodic and annual reports on garage equipment. Halfway through 2015 a workshop will be held to confirm and validate all the data collected.

The development of an EGEA standard for  A/C equipment, assigned to the 9th WG, is in its final stage; work continued with a meeting in May, where a business plan to be approved by the Executive Council of EGEA was discussed.

Finally, the 10th WG is currently overseeing the creation of EGEANET, as examined separately.

The President of EGEA, Michel Vervekken, stressed once again the great work performed during the first half of the year, and thanked all national associations and companies involved in the projects for their efforts.

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