Why ABAX Triplog is better than OBD

Did you know that some triplog suppliers are connected to OBD II, which is the diagnostic port for servicing vehicles? Read more about this and the reasons why a cable connection to the car battery is better than OBD for vehicle tracking.

Anna Edwards·4 min read
Why ABAX Triplog is better than OBD

OBD is a vehicle’s brain

OBD is the abbreviation for On-Board Diagnostics, and is your vehicle’s diagnostic port. It CAN be used to retrieve driving data, however the port was designed for servicing vehicles, which results in car manufacturers raising an eyebrow when electronics are fitted in a place designed to fix your vehicle.

Precision and high quality

Compared to a wired GPS tracker, the wireless GPS tracker is relatively simple, which is also the case for the data quality. One relevant example is the positioning that appears on the OBD device is retrieved from its last position rather than actual coordinates, which makes it slightly more difficult to search for missing objects in motion. 

Real time coordinates

The fact that our devices are connected to the battery means the data is more precise. A triplog connected to the battery means that all trips are registered, which is essential for audits. A wired GPS tracker is more powerful with respect to functions. It can be placed and tracked in real time, in addition you can set up an electronic geofence.

Used for more than just registering mileage

An installation with two cables will normally register use based on the ignition being on, however we have further developed our devices. The tracker familiarises itself with the vehicle and the algorithm will quickly be able to determine whether the vehicle is not being used, whether it is being driven and, if relevant, whether it is idling. Compared to other suppliers of wired triplogs, ABAX Triplog is easy to install, and you can easily do it yourself.

Read more about the driving behaviour service

Explore how Smart Mobility lets you do more with less!

Service on cars are done with OBD II

The car industry’s comments on use of the OBD port

The various manufacturers have worded this differently in their publications, but Volvo has made it clear in its user manual that it does not approve of such connections. 

Many car-based data applications now have access to data through the OBD interface. This access is being blocked step by step

Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics at BMW, VDA Technical Congress in Berlin

Volvo also comments on third party interference: 

"Volvo takes no responsibility for the consequences of connecting non-authorised equipment to On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II). It should only be used by a qualified Volvo service technician.
Volvo goes on to make it clear that it cannot be assumed that a new car guarantee will cover any faults that arise. Car manufacturers should therefore be contacted to approve the purchase of an OBD solution."

Not as safe

The University of California San Diego conducted an experiment where a text message was sent to the tracker. They managed to activate the vehicle’s brakes. The supplier of this solution has since corrected this fault. 

The risk of hacking has led to increasing efforts being made to bring about an amendment to the law, as all the data retrieved from the OBD equipment can also be retrieved from the internet. However, it is unfortunately not up to the car manufacturers to determine the useful life of OBD II. 

Certification requirement

A new EU digital certification requirement will enter into force on 1 September 2021. The German car industry has also announced its intention to close the OBD port to prevent external companies connecting to the vehicle. The car industry is not happy with third parties using the OBD II to for other matters:

"OBD was designed for car service in garages. It was never meant to enable third parties to build data-driven services through this interface," says Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics at BMW, VDA Technical Congress in Berlin.

The manual clearly states that external technology should not be permanently connected. The outlet has not been designed for permanent connections

Patrik Blixt, Technical Team Manager at Mercedes

Solution of the future

Car manufacturers wish, as we have seen, to own the OBD port themselves, and when they block external connection access, all customers with this type of triplog and connection will have to find another solution. In comparison, it also takes longer for an OBD device to ‘waken’ so that there is a greater likelihood of trips not being registered, thus making it inadequate for tax purposes.

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