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AUSTRALIA should include telematics in the draft legislation requiring OEMs to share vehicle service and repair information with independent repairers, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) says in a statement.

It said Australia should follow the lead of the US state of Massachusetts that this week won the right for consumers to own all the data of the vehicle they own, including telematics.

Massachusetts has long been held up by global markets as the litmus test for opening OEM data to independent repairers.

The AAAA’s call this week follows federal assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar announcing at the beginning of November that draft legislation that requires car companies to share all vehicle service and repair information was “only weeks away”.

This draft legislation is now hoped to add telematics and then require OEMs to share all vehicle data. The Australian “Right To Repair” legislation is expected before Christmas.

In Massachusetts, 75 per cent of voters resolved that telematics should be included and that “once a person buys a vehicle, they own all of its data.”

The US state’s vote – which has widespread implications for the automotive industry – requires all OEMs that sell vehicles with telematics systems in Massachusetts to equip them with a standardised open-data platform beginning with model year 2022.

The standardised open-data platform gives vehicle owners and independent repair facilities direct access and the ability to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through a mobile-based application.

The state said that: “Importantly, this measure covers the data that telematics systems collect and wirelessly transmit.

“And it not only gives access to the mechanical data, it allows owners and independent mechanics to send commands to the vehicle for repair, maintenance and diagnostic testing.”

The move led to an outcry from major car-makers including General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Massachusetts’ voters in 2012 approved a law that required car-makers to use a non-proprietary standard for its onboard diagnostics port. This port is used by dealerships’ workshops to retrieve data.

It means car owners no longer have to go to a dealership if their engine-check warning light goes on and instead could go to a local mechanic for a diagnosis.

But the 2012 law in Massachusetts exempted wirelessly-transmitted data. Now that the new measure has passed, the law includes telematics.

US industry lobby group Alliance for Automotive Innovation argued that it will create security and safety risks.

It said car-makers have legitimate concerns that if new software is put in a vehicle, and the vehicle has a fault, it is a safety issue.

The legislation is confined to Massachusetts but critics are concerned it will expand to the rest of the US.

The Right to Repair measure is also expected to be extended from cars to cover other technology, from smartphones to farm equipment, as a broader legislation is being planned in 2021 for consideration.

By Neil Dowling

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