Bosch developing technology to end mileage manipulation

By DPA | 23 March 2017

BERLIN: Hundreds of thousands of cars are running on roads with illegally rolled-back odometers, research has shown.

In a bid to combat the widespread practice of odometer fraud or mileage rollback, German technology giant Bosch has teamed up with the German certification authority TUV.

It's estimated that billions of euros in damage are caused in Europe alone by the manipulation of car mileages.

The practice is illegal in most countries and another downside is that cars containing parts or components showing advanced signs of wear that do not correspond to the vehicle's mileage pose a safety hazard for unwary drivers. Essential maintenance may also have been skipped with potentially fatal results.

Sadly the switch from yesterday's mechanical odometers to the digital instruments used today has not stopped criminals from tampering with the recorders. Indeed anyone with a few tools and some knowledge of computers can add a substantial value to a used car by manipulating the mileage.


Bosch board chairman Volkmar Denner announced the breakthrough at a recent conference in Berlin about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in cars.

Bosch uses so-called blockchain technology to beat the fraudsters. Largely known for its use with the digital currency Bitcoin, a blockchain is a kind of digital logbook which is distributed across many computers.

These shared ledgers use strong cryptography to validate and connect blocks of data. This makes it nigh on impossible to tamper with any individual transaction.

Connected cars using the Bosch technology regularly send their odometer readings to these computers via a simple connector. Using a smartphone app, car owners can also check the actual mileage at any time and compare it to the in-vehicle display.

If an owner plans to sell a car the person can obtain a certificate that attests to the accuracy of the car's mileage. The document can be shared over the internet and even be incorporated into advertisements on online platforms for selling cars.

Another spin-off unveiled at the confab is a connected car's ability to automatically alert the repair shops to work which needs to be done.

Denner used the example of a flying stone cracking a car's side window to demonstrate how the system would work.

The repair shop receives an automatic notification from the car and can gear up to make the necessary repairs.

Connected logistics and forklift trucks in the component stores mean the replacement part is ready and waiting when the customer arrives.

The auto mechanic of the future will probably don a pair of augmented reality glasses with displayed instructions. In this way the mechanic can carry out the work much faster.

Meanwhile drivers benefit by being able to get back behind the wheel quickly after a brief wait. There would also be no need to visit the workshop again to pick up the car the next day or book a costly rental to bridge the gap.