From Europe for Europe. At the end of February this year, the eleven winning consortia of the funding competition “Innovative and practical applications and data spaces in the digital ecosystem Gaia-X”, organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), were announced. The projects, which will receive a total of EUR 117.4 million in funding from the BMWK up until 2024, are intended to prove the added value offered by the networked, secure and sovereign data infrastructure in order to develop data-driven business models and AI-based services in a European data space.
What the projects and Gaia-X accomplish
According to the German federal government, “the flagship projects make an important contribution to greater innovation, competitiveness, climate protection and sustainable business and help Germany and Europe to gain digital sovereignty.” The selected eleven have a supraregional, European appeal and come from the education, finance, healthcare, construction, mobility, aerospace, maritime and public sectors. Specifically, they should collect data in an open and transparent digital ecosystem so that services can be made available, aggregated, shared with confidence, and, in turn, then used to aggregate, share with confidence, and use services sovereignly across Europe.
Car Repair 4.0: Use Case with Gaia-X Connection
That was the theory, now for the practice: As one of the first use cases to be developed in the European data ecosystem Gaia-X, the Car Repair 4.0 project was launched in early 2022. It is supported by the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) during the implementation and realization phases, and it creates the bridge and connection to the open-source software modules of the Gaia-X Federation Services (GXFS). The consortium of partners Auto-Intern GmbH, DEKRA DIGITAL, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola, Vergölst GmbH and the eco Association, together with the consortium leader LMIS AG, has set itself the goal of advancing digitalization, particularly in the automotive industry.
Data exchange platform for SMEs
Over the next three years, the eight consortium partners will jointly develop a data exchange platform for car repair shops, measurement system operators, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the automotive industry. The platform is designed to enable independent car repair shops and SMEs to use AI-based diagnostics to repair and maintain vehicles. “The Car Repair 4.0 project promotes differentiated error diagnosis with the latest technologies and contributes to the digitalization of independent car repair shops. We are looking forward to entering into dialogue with all interested parties and to discussing cooperations and AI projects,” says Andreas Weiss, Head of Digital Business Models at eco – Association of the Internet Industry. Through exchanges with other projects from the funding competition, the technologies for interoperability and networking will be jointly implemented and applied.
With a new measuring method for better repair and maintenance
Dr. Jan Hendrik Schoenke, Head of R&D at the consortium leader, explains what exactly is behind the term “latest technologies” and why it is essential to push them. “The increasing technical complexity of electric vehicles is leading to a double burden for car repair shops. They need to be able to handle both the various combustion technologies and be capable of repairing electric vehicles.” Outdated on-board diagnostic procedures merely allow vehicle parts to be replaced symptomatically rather than getting to the bottom of the real cause of an error through accurate measurement procedures. Automotive oscilloscopes and AI-assisted methods are expected to help improve repair and maintenance here.
Huge benefit for a large target group
More than 5,000 independent car repair shops in Germany are already participating in the project. The advantages are obvious: Being able to offer an AI-supported diagnostic system and innovative service concepts, satisfy customers with fast and accurate error diagnosis, and short repair waiting times promotes customer retention. Only having to replace necessary components and being able to make your component supply chain much leaner and more resource-efficient optimizes processes and warehousing. However, increased revenue potential – including as a data provider – makes the project attractive to more than just car repair shop owners. In addition to IT service providers and diagnostics manufacturers, Car Repair 4.0 innovation is also impacting the international car parts trade as well as insurance, software and connection enterprises. Last but not least, the car manufacturers themselves are likely to be interested in using causal fault diagnosis to obtain high-resolution data from ongoing vehicle operations to support their development departments and improve errors in the next generation of vehicles. With all this in mind: Let’s connect!
Ralf Schädel is IT Editor and Project Manager Cloud Services and Gaia-X at eco – Association of the Internet Industry.