Cooperative diagnostics - without the need for on-site presence
Servicexpert - Gesellschaft für Service-Informationssysteme mbH

Cooperative diagnostics - without the need for on-site presence

HANSER Mobile Automation 2017

17.11. 2017

Vehicle servicing requires a technician, but increasingly also expert knowledge from off-site support. Through the use of a cooperative diagnostic solution, the participants can now work simultaneously and on different tasks on the vehicle, without the need for on-site presence of everyone concerned. This optimizes the disgnostic process and significantly reduces downtime and repair costs.

"Cooperative diagnostics" is a complete diagnostic solution from ServiceXpert Gesellschaft für Service-Informationssysteme mbH, in which several technicians at different locations are able to evaluate and solve a problem on a vehicle simultaneously and cooperatively. Regardless of the job location, a technician with a diagnostic notebook on the vehicle is a classic repair situation for finding and correcting a problem. In cooperative diagnostic, the technician on-site is in a position to call on the additional support of specialists from the support or even development teams, who at that time might be working at their respective locations.

Today, technicians and support workers already collaborate in diagnostic scenarios without additional effort through the use of "screen-sharing" solutions. For this, the technician's notebook is released to off-site support for remote control. However, the support expert only sees exactly what the technician sees on site, because he is connected to his computer, not to the vehicle to be examined.

A cooperative diagnostic system extends these application possibilities by integrating the ability to cooperate within the system. Several users can connect to a diagnostic server, which provides the communication and diagnostic logic on the vehicle. In this way, different users access a vehicle in parallel. Individual access rights make it possible for users to provide different data and function ranges that are individually tailored to their roles, qualifications and languages.

For the support expert, remote access to the vehicle means remote diagnostics. However, it is still necessary to have a technician on site. While the higher-qualified expert provides a greater range of functions and analytics, he can only carry out potentially safety-critical interventions on the vehicle in cooperation with his colleague on-site, which necessarily requires an on-site presence.

These safety-critical interventions, such as performing actuator tests, which lead to vehicle movements, or the flashing and adjusting of complex configuration parameters, also represent a special challenge for cooperative diagnostics. In these cases, there are prioritized activities that do not allow parallel access to a vehicle, as well as on-vehicle activities that only a field technician can do - such as starting the vehicle, securing it (eg, jacking up), and making a physical connection to the vehicle.

The co-operative diagnostic system supports this through several roles: A "master" user retains physical control of the vehicle while a "major" user has access to prioritised activities. In addition, if required, any number of "minor" users can simultaneously receive or take read-only access to the same vehicle. A change of the "major" role between the participants is also possible in a cooperative diagnostic session. However, the on-site "master" retains the right to reclaim this role at any time, thus regaining control of the diagnostic session, particularly if the remote participants lose connection.

For more than 20 years, ServiceXpert has been offering its own tried-and-tested diagnostic system, DiaMon, which is constantly being further developed and adapted to current requirements. With the current release 3.8.0, the system has been extended by a web service component in which a server application manages the connection to the vehicle, the diagnostic session and the users. Web services provide information to browser-based client applications, which in turn provide customised information display: A client can thus choose to access the diagnostic session either via notebook, tablet or smartphone. The advantage of this solution lies above all in a site-independent and cooperative usability of diagnostics and in a simple integration of diagnostic functions and information in a holistic service tool world.

With the new web interface, the ServiceXpert engineers at the company's own Diagnostics Centre DiC have developed a cooperative diagnostic solution that is independent of the web server and browser used and which has maximum flexibility in terms of the support of different diagnostic scenarios.

Solutions of thsi kind are increasingly being pushed foward by longstanding ServiceXpert customers, such as STILL GmbH, in the face of changes in modern technology in the material handling sector. Typical service scenarios at STILL, where the technician comes to the vehicle (rather than the other way around), increasingly require the intergation of diagnostics into an information world that provides applications. The demand on a diagnostic system and its unsers are increasing rapidly and require easy-to-use systems with access to expert knowledge.

As a result of a global network of information sources with up-to-date vehicle data, users with different qualifications, authorizations and languages operate under changing conditions. The improved collaboration via cooperative diagnostics makes distributed expert knowledge usable at the same time, enables faster solution finding and thus increases customer satisfactio.

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