ADAC examines data security in the car

Data security in the car
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D er ADAC wanted to know which manufacturer collects which data in which model and therefore examined a Mercedes B-Class, a Renault Zoe, a BMW 320d and a BMW i3. The result: The manufacturers collect a wide range of data which, among other things, allow conclusions to be drawn about the technical condition of the car or the driver's usage profile.

These control units collect data in the car.

Remote diagnosis and driving profiles

For the Mercedes B-Class, which are equipped with equipped with the me-connect system, the experts commissioned by the ADAC found out, for example, that the system transmits the vehicle's GPS position as well as the mileage, fuel consumption and tire pressure to the manufacturer about every two minutes. The number of times the seat belts are tightened is also saved, for example due to heavy braking.

With the Renault Zoe electric car, it was noticed that the manufacturer can read out any information via cellular connection and, in the event of a breakdown, carry out remote diagnostics. Renault can also prevent the battery from being charged, for example due to unpaid leasing bills.

In the case of the BMW vehicles that were examined in August 2015, the IT experts were able to find the number of Read out inserted CDs and DVDs (320d) or the last 100 parking positions of the car (i3).

The customer should be able to decide about data himself

The data transfer harbors both opportunities and risks. It can be an advantage to be reminded of maintenance intervals or to find the car parked in a strange city. It can be disadvantageous that the car companies and the downstream insurance or financial service providers receive information about the driving style of a driver and adjust their premiums accordingly.

It is crucial that consumers receive detailed knowledge of the type of data exchange and actively do soagree. 'The consumer not only has a right to data transparency. He must also be able to choose freely whether and which data he makes available to the manufacturer. He needs freedom of choice for data transfer,' emphasizes Thomas Burkhardt, ADAC Vice President for Technology.

This means that the user must also be able to give providers other than the manufacturer's own workshops or breakdown services free access to all data in the car. The security of the data must also be guaranteed.

Results in detail

The following conspicuous data were found for the Mercedes B-Class:

  • About every two minutes the GPS position of the vehicle and status data are sent to the Mercedes backend transmitted (e.g. mileage, consumption, tank filling, tire pressure and fill levels of coolant, washer fluid or brake fluid)
  • The number of electromotive belt tensioners is saved, for example due to heavy braking (allows conclusions to be drawn about the driving style)
  • Fault memory entries are partially stored with information about the engine speed or temperature being too high (allows conclusions to be drawn about the driving style)
  • kilometers driven on motorways, country roads and in the city ( 'Highway-conditions', 'road-conditions' and 'urban-conditions') are saved separately (allows conclusions to be drawn about the usage profile)
  • operating hours of the vehicle lighting are saved
  • the last 100 Charging and discharging cycles of the starter battery are saved with the time and date as well as the mileage, which results in driving and idle times

The following conspicuous data was found on the Renault Zoe:

  • Renault can stop charging the drive battery at any time via mobile phone connection (for example due to a lease bill for the drive battery that has not been paid)
  • Renault can send any information from the CAN data bus via RemDiag of the vehicle via mob Read the radio connection. This remote diagnosis is switched off by default, but can be activated by the manufacturer at any time
  • With every journey, but at the latest every 30 minutes, a data package is sent to Renault that contains at least: VIN, various serial numbers, date, time , GPS position, temperature, charge and cell voltage of the high-voltage drive battery; this information can also be requested from Renault at any time
  • in addition to the permanently programmed functions of communication between the Renault server and the Renault Zoe, these functions can be expanded as required via cellular connection

Comparison with the 2015 study of the BMW 320d and BMW i3

In the previous year, the ADAC examined a BMW 320d and, in part, a BMW i3 on behalf of the FIA. On the whole, the results of the BMW 320d and Mercedes B-Class are comparable, even if there are differences in the details, which is partly due to thedifferent equipment of the vehicles explained. Wear and usage data are mainly collected for parts that are subject to corresponding loads or have a limited service life. In particular, the engine and transmission play a special role. Personal data accumulates in the head unit (central infotainment control unit), especially if the telephone contacts are synchronized with the head unit when the telephone is connected via Bluetooth. Similar data is transmitted to the respective manufacturer via the mobile radio interface of the telematics control unit, even if the functionality of the two vehicles is very different here, as many of the ConnectedDrive options of the BMW are not available in the Mercedes-Benz with the specified equipment.

The scope of the tests for the BMW 320d, i3, Mercedes B-Class and Renault Zoe are not identical and therefore cannot be compared directly.

The following conspicuous data were found for the BMW 320d in 2015 found:

• Maximum engine speed reached with the respective mileage (allows conclusions to be drawn about the driving style)

• Number of journeys between zero and five, five and 20, 20 and 100 as well over 100 kilometers (allows conclusions to be drawn about the usage profile)

• Duration, how long the driver was in different modes of the automatic transmission (duration /manual /sport) (allows conclusions to be drawn about the driving style)

• Operating hours of the vehicle lighting, separated by individual light sources

• Number of adjustments of the electric driver's seat (allows conclusions to be drawn about the number of drivers)

• Number of inserted media of the CD /DVD Drive (allows conclusions to be drawn about the intensity of use of the assembly)

• Number of electromotive seat belts tightened, for example due to heavy braking (allows conclusions to be drawn about driving style)

The BMW i3 electric car transmits a so-called 'Last State Call' (automatically every time the ignition is switched off and the vehicle is locked ) Among other things, the following conspicuous data to the manufacturer:

• Contents of the fault memory

• Detailed data of the drive battery (state of charge, cell temperatures etc.)

• Intermodal connection points (where you changed to other means of transport such as bus and train)

• Selected driving mode ECO /ECOPLUS /SPORT

• Use data of the gasoline-powered range extender (REX)

• how often was the charging plug plugged in

• how and where was charging (fast, partially, etc.), how much was the drive battery previously discharged

• mileage with different operators -Processes such as charging etc.

• Quality of the charging voltage, failures

• Positi on the 16 previously used charging stations

• around 100 last parking positions of the vehicle (can only be read directly from the control unit)


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