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+44 (0) 1932 504 300

FAQs

Welcome to Airmax Remote’s FAQs and Contact Us:

For further support or Information please contact us:

  • Airmax Remote Product Support Line: 01932 504300 – Option 1
  • Airmax Remote Product Support Email: support@airmaxgroup.com

Data Capture from Vehicles

Mandated since 2001, European On-Board Diagnostics (EOBD). All petrol cars sold within Europe since 1 Jan 2001, and diesel cars manufactured from 2003, must have on-board diagnostic systems to monitor engine emissions.

These systems were introduced in line with European Directive 98/69/EC to monitor and reduce emissions from cars.

There are often small data variants from vehicle to vehicle depending on the manufacturer, make and model and also year of production, even though there is supposedly a common standard. Some vehicles offer up more data than the minimum requirement.

All such cars must also have a standard OBD diagnostic socket that provides access to this system (as shown below).

In reality only the OBD access point is common, but even these may vary. Indeed these days some vehicles will have a separate port whilst others will have built-in outputs being part of the plastic moulding of the car. The data recovery via the Airmax Remote system is only as good as the vehicle host systems, where even identical models may vary, therefore expectations must be modified and adjusted so that realistic service levels can be achieved. This doesn’t mean that service delivery or data recovery issues can’t be solved. Often all it takes to rectify or modify the system is access to an offending vehicle. Engineers then adjust or create a ‘work around’ to the software to ensure vehicle compatibility. There are rarely hardware issues. Airmax Remote currently achieves compatible software for 98% plus of poplar models with an on-going development programme encompassing all new vehicle types.

A word of warning, the data that can be recovered is rich in content but still may vary in accuracy and availability. Recovered data is not altered but mirrored back to your PC as a web application via Airmax host. For example, mileage data is usually within 1% but this variation could be greater if the vehicle itself is inaccurate. The reports are designed to be as accurate, or for the purist, as inaccurate as the vehicle, to avoid confusion.

Post-report calibration can be added if the data reports are proven to be inaccurate. This often occurs when the vehicle’s own management system also allows a discrepancy by as much as 7%. In effect the engine’s own data maybe accurate but the dashboard may display inaccuracies. Newer models are however improving. There is no legal requirement for vehicles to record accurate mileage.

If the system is fitted with optional GPS then mileage calculations can be verified or give you the choice of two figures. To go even further the data can be combined with mapping data and averaged between the data source. Airmax will also filter out data spikes that may occur if the ECU’s are busy.

For safety reasons the Airmax Remote RTU will not report with the first 500 metres of travel in case it’s within a fuel station. Mini trips are not logged in their own right but are added to next journey exceeding 500 meters.

To help verify this Airmax Remote has completed a number of test track calibrations to compare received data against known and proven conditions using a ‘5th wheel’ and also GPS verification.

 


Hardware

What is Remote Vehicle Diagnostics (RVD)?

In its simplest definition it is “a Black Box that measures a quantity and signals the results to a distant point” specifically data from the OBD and CANbus and engine ECUs. External data such as GPS, accelerometers, giros or camera imagery can also be collated and transmitted.


What is Airmax Remote’s direct to dash [D2D] technology?

This application allows the in-vehicle RTU to see beyond simple OBD data and listens to data at a generic level held within all the Engine Control Units [ECUs]. Data from the OBD is often confined to emission data so this enhanced application is rich in data normally only seen by specialist equipment at your repair garage. An important data feed on D2D is fuel tank readings. Not all vehicles are compatible but No:  We provide fuel support for over 80% of vehicles including:

Alfa Romeo, Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda, BMW, Ford, Volvo, Vauxhall, Renault, Toyota, Citroen (Relay Van only), Ferrari, Fiat, Land Rover, Mazda, Mini, Porsche, Renault (Kangoo Van only), Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Nissan ( Maxima only)


Can any vehicle benefit from Airmax Remote?

Yes, as long as they are a supported model. A list is available on request or downloadable from our support section of the web site.


What if the vehicle model is not supported?

In general all models post 2001 will be but certain hybrids may not be or they may behave differently when in eclectic mode.  As a rule all petrol cars post 2001 should be compliant and diesel post 2003. You cannot always rely on the vehicle’s registration date either as manufacturers can influence the date of registration. Access by engineers to a non-supported vehicle will determine if it is EOBD compatible.  Airmax does not support the D2D product on all makes.  Ford, VAG and GM are currently offered. Other makes to follow. This iteration offers data from ECU’s and allows more reporting including fuel.


Does the system work on cars, vans and trucks?

Yes, cars, car derived vans and most vans. The system also supports trucks if fitted with an FMS port or via Airmax’s CANbus connector.


Will the RTU interfere with any of the vehicle’s controls?

No it is designed not to but in some cases where data is requested from ECU’s then Airmax will test the vehicle’s compatibility. Otherwise the RTU has been designed to “plug and play” and listens only and has the advantage of not being an interference with the vehicles’ systems. There is no wire cutting.


Who installs the equipment in the vehicle?

We have our own internal team of installation engineers and a network of UK dealers as well as contracted mobile engineers.


Is the Airmax Unit hard wired in the vehicle – can drivers find and remove them?

No the system plugs into the OBD with a ‘Y’ cable and covertly fitted. Yes as with all system it can be found and removed. However we can use tamperproof labels.


When and where can you install?

Airmax has a nominated and approved main vehicle dealer or by arrangement at you convenience at your place of work or home.


How long does it take to install an Airmax Remote Unit?

An average vehicle installation takes approximately 15 minutes. The Airmax unit is not a plus and play dongle and is an embedded device.


Will the Airmax Remote unit interfere with any of the vehicle’s controls?

No. The unit has been designed to “plug and play” and has the advantage of not being an “interference fit” with the vehicles’ systems.


Will AIRMAX be monitoring my drivers or looking at our reporting data?

No, Airmax will not be monitoring your individual drivers. The only data held by Airmax is the current odometer reading of the vehicle, used to provide the pro-active Service Reminder facility.


What happens if my Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) comes on after the RTU is fitted?

Occasionally a vehicle manufacturer will change one of the ECU’s in a vehicle. If this is done without awareness then the MIL might come on. In these circumstances an engineer will need to visit the vehicle to evaluate. The recommendation may be to accommodate the new change with new code or to remove the ECU from the look up table within the RTU.


My rev counter stopped working after installing the RTU. Can I still drive it safely, or are other functions or sensors compromised by your hardware as well, endangering the car’s safety?

The RTU is connected to the diagnostic port of your car, which the vehicle manufacturer provides to give safe external access to vehicle data and services. The cause of your rev counter malfunction would need to be investigated, but as the RTU only makes use of data provided for external equipment by the vehicle manufacturer, it should not compromise the operation of any vehicle systems or endanger the car’s safety.


If I plug another device into the EOBD port will the RTU still work?

If any device is plugged into the EOBD port which draws current the RTU will be automatically disconnected from the vehicle bus. This feature is in place to detect and not obstruct diagnostic equipment plugged into this port.

If you remove the device the RTU should work ok.                 


Does the system power down on ignition off?

Generally yes but many customers prefer to leave the system powered up within work hours. The system auto powers up when ignition powers up. If you require non-standard settings please contact Airmax Remote’s support desk. Occasionally faulty ECUs have problem powering down. Such makes and models are generally known to Airmax.


Does the system identify the vehicles VIN number?

Yes generally where manufacturers permit.


Does the system have battery backup?

No it gets it power from the OBD. However it does have a small capacitor.


What network shall I use?

Not all networks offer the same services or features. Not all offer cell broadcast data enabling free location services. Others do not support telematics actively or enthusiastically. You can use pre or post pay and subscribed to a data only tariff. There are new one tariff options for roaming available now.


What is GPS?

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a constellation of 27 earth orbiting satellites developed by the US military, initially as a military navigation system that has since opened up to everybody else to use. A GPS receiver locates these satellites and uses the information to deduce its own location.


What is GPRS?

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is the worlds wireless data service available with almost every GSM mobile network. It enables us to access the internet, our email, video streaming and multimedia messages from our mobile phones. Airmax uses this technology to communicate location data back to our application servers.


What is CANbus?

The Controller Area Network (CAN) is the communications network which exists in all European vehicles manufactured since 1999. Two standards exist from the Society of Automotive Engineers, J1979 for cars/vans and J1939 for trucks/buses which allow us to access key information from the engine management systems.


Can I upgrade to GPS once fitted?

No it will require a new RTU.


Is the equipment mine?

It depends on your agreement. If the unit is supplied with you vehicle lease then the answer is no. Small fleets will often purchase and the pay the monthly service fee.


Can I transfer the Airmax Remote RTU from one vehicle to another?

Generally yes you can but depending on the vehicle models. Airmax Remote will usually upgrade the RTU which will incur a small fee. It is essential to decommission properly to remove the vehicle specific data from the servers.


Does the system invalidate the vehicle manufacturers’ guarantee?

Not to our knowledge and most manufacturers are aware of the system. The data is taken from the EOBD port designed for data access. There is no wire cutting involved. Some manufacturers are currently assessing the system to give the product their own part number.


Software

What is Airmax Remote?

It is a revolutionary new vehicle servicing facility, allowing companies and drivers to benefit from a host of services facilitated by the Airmax Remote telematics unit (RTU), which has QS9000 accreditation.


What software is needed to use the Airmax Remote reporting application?

Airmax Remote GPS vehicle tracking system is web-based and includes all the software you need to track your fleet. Almost any computer that browses the web can access the system and all you will need is the latest browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.


I’ve forgotten my username and password, what do I do?

From the login screen click the link which states “Forgot your username or password?” You will then be prompted for a unique identifier which will authorise Airmax to send your username and password to the email address we have on file for you.


What are the benefits of Airmax Remote?

For both companies and their drivers the key ones are mileage capture, the on-line automated journey logging facility available for drivers and fleets and the pro-active notification of vehicle services becoming due. Driver style monitoring is becoming more important as legislation impacts on duty of care, health and safety, driver time directives and corporate manslaughter legislation.


How does it work?

Airmax Remote uses ‘black box’ units installed covertly in your vehicles to communicate directly with your engine management system and detailed positioning information (GPS) to web database application hosted by Airmax Remote. We display your vehicle information in the form of reports on a secure web based platform.

 Driver Portal Features:

Fleet Portal Features:

Plus:

Airmax’s autonomous driving assistance systems have been achieved this by adding applications from the HERE™ data sets obtained by using API’s and scripts from Nokia. HERE Maps are based on the world-class NAVTEQ™ mapping data used in 90% of in-car navigation systems in the world – welcome to the world of Augmented Reality for motorists.

For those RTUs fitted with GPRS data can be transmitted in real-time or by pre-agreed periodic intervals.

Each RTU is contracted for 1-megabyte data per month x 36 months and this can be increased by request and is subject to tariff.


How accurate is location data?

Airmax Remote can vary in its accuracy depending on its use of GPS or Cell ID. The Global Position System (GPS) network which normally reports the vehicle position to within a few metres.


What about upgrades?

All systems since 2010 have auto update technology as standard.


Product Services

Do you have support level agreements (SLA)?

Yes, these are available on request.


Is the service fully warranted?

Yes for the life of your contract, this service is provided within the price you have paid, therefore at no additional charge. Exceptions are for tamper and abuse and we offer a fair use policy to set limits in case of misuse.


Do I need to worry about Data Protection?

The only data held by Airmax Remote is the cumulative mileage reading of the car upon which the pro-active service notification depends.

Airmax Remote complies with the principles of the UK Data Protection legislation. Personal information supplied by you will only be used for the purposes provided and will not be passed to any third party without your prior consent.


Can I have the raw data sent to my organisation so I can import it into my internal application or my own software offering?

Yes, we can send data but would charge this as a separate service.


What if I require bundled or bespoke reports?

Some fleet managers will require some application development. Airmax Remote’s in-house team is constantly evolving new reports but good ideas will often come from experienced fleet managers, driver trainers or risk managers. Once a request is made and accepted a detailed specification will be agreed. This will fall into the category of paid for work or non-paid for work depending on the benefit to either party. This process or even so called ‘pick and mix’ applications or ‘bundling’ will take time.


Can anybody access the driver’s personal vehicle records? 

No, not unless the driver has disclosed their unique and secure User Name and Password to another person or they have authorised their Fleet / HR Manager to view their records via an online consent form (Account Set Up).

At this stage a driver can authorise access to all journeys / business journeys only / none at all. Consent may depend on company policy e.g. commercial fleets for which vehicles are used entirely for business purposes. It may be that all journeys are accessible by a Fleet Manager for the day to day running of the fleet, to ensure (jobs are allocated to nearest driver by location, for example) and no driver consent is required in order to access journey logs. Please check with your Fleet Manager for your specific policy.


How often do I get reports?

Reports can be generated in real- time or on an ad hoc basis.


Where can I find Live Vehicle Tracking?

 Vehicle Live Track and Trace can be located with the Remote Application, under the Fleet Activity Menu, and within the Fleet Position and Status report.


What happens if I require a bespoke report or service?

Most reports can be formatted to each customer requirement but some will require hardware development and, at the very least, an agreed technical specification. A development roadmap can then be agreed prior to delivery and release date.


What happens if I request a new report or GSM bundle?

It is not practicable to provide an itemised billing service so an agreed new monthly rate will start.


My vehicle was involved in an incident can I retrieve the data to help with the insurance claim?

The answer to this one is complicated. Generally the answer to this is no. This is not a ‘flight recorder’ and therefore will not record the incident on a second by second basis. Neither is the system an Event Data Recorders (EDR). EDRs are not usually accessible and only a few cars have them fitted with Europe. In the USA most cars are fitted.

On newer vehicles the system may be enabled for freeze frame capture. This is set by an event such as airbag activation. In this case the last 10 seconds before and incident occurred may be recorded in the freeze frame. Driver data occurring with the first half mile are not recorded in a trip but added to the next trip. Geo-coded KPI’s are recorded and transmitted by GSM by SMS or GPRS.


If my insurance company has requested the installation of a system does it work differently to fleet use?

For Airmax Remote RTU 7.3 insurance the minimum trip distance is configurable and by default set to 0 so all trips will be reported, KPI’s will always be reported whatever the minimum trip distance is configured to.


If I have the system fitted as a requirement of my insurance company am I entitled to see the data?

No not normally but many users will want to see the data and their own driver performance. The data may also be important to fleet managers for management and logistics purposes. Airmax Remote is happy to allow access to the data subject to confirmation that you are entitled to see the data and may change a small premium for this service.


Can I use the system to recover a vehicle in the event of theft? Can Airmax Remote help?

Yes many vehicles have already been recovered using both GPS and cell location.

Airmax Remote does not offer a Thatcham or Police approved service and doesn’t have a formal process in place for vehicle location and recovery. However using both GSM cell location features and GPS Airmax Remote is currently recovering, on average, one vehicle every week for customers.

The cost of this service will vary but if Airmax Remote obtains an attempt request to locate the vehicle, we will co-ordinate the location usually with the co-operation of your fleet controller. All costs of GSM usage and time will be invoiced to the customer whether the vehicle is recovered or not. Your insurer usually accepts our costs.


I have an existing or intend to install a tracking system in my vehicle; can I integrate the two systems?

The RTU is not designed to be a front-ended track and trace system. It does have GPS and has some unique GPS based services. There are plans to add additional features to the system so that it becomes fully integrated in both functionality and hardware supply.


How is the mileage data from the vehicle calculated?

On the RTU’s collecting data via the EOBD it is calculated from vehicle speed and time. On the RTU’s collecting data via D2D it is read directly from the ECU.


How accurate is GPS? Is the GPS signal available everywhere?

GPS signals available to civilian GPS receivers can be used to compute position to within 10 meters (33 feet) most of the time. However, GPS signals are sometimes diluted in certain sensitive areas.

GPS signals are available all over the world. However, please note that GPS receivers need signals from three or more satellites to compute position and, in general, this requires that an antenna connected to the GPS receiver be placed with a clear view of the sky. GPS reception may, therefore, be inconsistent under certain extreme weather conditions, or:

  • Indoors, in parking garages.
  • under heavy foliage
  • Near tall buildings, etc.

Is the data from Airmax Remote the same as likely to be obtained at my dealer or specialist repair agent?

Expensive specialised equipment used by garages may look into more depth within the vehicles ECU’s. Plus many propriety systems will also be able to reset and calibrate on board systems. The Airmax Remote system currently does not have the ability to write to ECU’s but the Airmax Remote systemdoes support a ‘garage layer’ to forewarn drivers of vehicle faults or errors. This is model specific.


If I am outside the UK and require a system what will be different and what can I expect?

Local GSM networks operate in different ways. Often SMS and GPRS settings need to be changed. Maps may need to be customised and items such as Postal or Zip codes will have to be added. This usually happens during the period of the trial and with the design consent of the participating customer or partner. There may be some costs if licences have to be obtained specific to the country.


Does the system have its own health check?

Yes the system will send a message at a pre determine interval so say it is still alive.


Can I claim a rebate if my messages are delayed?

Airmax Remote is not responsible or accountable for messages held by 3rd party networks or servers. If you are worried about missing or delayed messages Airmax Remote is able to interrogate message queues to confirm if the messages are being processed.


What happens if I sell the vehicle before the full term of rental?

As the full cost of the RTU is not recovered until after 36 rental payments then a settlement fee must be paid. It may reduce the fee if the RTU is returned in good working order. Rental continues after 36 months. Shorter-term deals can be arranged.


What happens after my service/contract period ends?

Depending on the nature of your contract you have the option to continue to use the service on a month by month basis with no obligation to sign a further contract. However the terms must be agreed in advance.

  • Airmax Remote Product Support Line: +441932504300

Airmax Remote Product Support Email: support@airmaxgroup.com