When the customer in the Gulf region received a call from Molsheim, he did not know that the pressure in the front left tyre of his Bugatti Chiron was no longer ideal. However, the French super sports car brand’s service technician was already fully informed and suggested that he ought to correct the tyre pressure before his next trip with the 1500hp super sports car.
The technician could do that despite working almost 6000 kilometres away from the car. Telemetry is the explanation.
With the new Chiron, data is even transmitted on a real-time basis – this feature is normally only implemented on Formula 1 or DTM racing cars. All Bugatti customers can benefit from this unique support for their vehicles, but of course, only if they give their consent in advance.
Bugatti has many years of experience in this field. The super sports car manufacturer already developed this data transmission and analysis system, which allows communication between vehicles and customer service, for its first modern supercar, the Veyron 16.4. Since 2004, Bugatti has therefore been in a position to monitor the technical status of each individual Bugatti from the company’s headquarters in Molsheim.
The Bugatti telemetry system works mainly using mobile radio and monitors the operating status of each Bugatti. It is “online” round-the-clock seven days per week, provided that the customer’s vehicle is located in an area with mobile phone network.
With the launch of the Chiron, far more data can now be acquired and recorded in a variety of different ways – permanently, temporarily with respect to individual events, or limited to certain time periods.
The system keeps a close eye on about 10,000 signals from all parts of the car, including engine, transmission, lights, air-conditioning and infotainment. As a new feature on the Chiron, the data is transmitted on a real-time basis, something that is normally only experienced with Formula One or DTM racing cars, where the race team mechanics can monitor their cars from the pits. Live data from any location on earth takes no longer than a text message to reach Bugatti.
The Bugatti Flying Doctors do not need to closely watch their monitors. If unusual signals are received from a vehicle, the responsible flying doctor receives a message on his mobile phone.
This way, Customer Service receives the information needed to provide the best possible support for each Bugatti. This includes prompt answers to customers’ questions over the phone and long-term assessments of vehicles’ behaviour so that the flying doctor can prepare for his upcoming visit to the customer. The highly qualified technicians therefore know in advance which spare parts they need to order, if any, and can immediately place the necessary orders.
The telemetry system allows two-way communication, not only from the Bugatti to the customer service centre but also vice versa. Customer Service can transmit data to the vehicle in order to change configurations or, to a certain extent, to carry out software updates.
This sophisticated technology is not packaged in a particularly spectacular way. The Customer Service laptop “talks” to an aluminium box in the vehicle which is only 140mm wide, 50mm high and 100mm long.
Despite its small size and light weight, the box is packed with power, housing eight vehicle networks such as CAN (Controlled Area Network) buses. An onboard network links the various controllers of the vehicle. The control mechanisms, which have greatly increased in number, exchange data as in a telephone conference call. The telemetry box listens in to these communications in an event-controlled way, recording diagnostic information from at least 30 control units in the vehicle and forwarding it in encrypted form to Customer Service depending on the requests received from Molsheim.
In addition to everyday technical support, the tracking of stolen vehicles is a feature of the telemetry system that is highly appreciated by customers. While owners of a Veyron still had to report the theft of their Bugatti to Molsheim personally in order to activate the stolen-vehicle tracking system, the Chiron will draw attention to itself automatically using the telemetry system in situations that are unusual for the car, for example if it is transported by truck.
All customers whose Bugattis receive telemetry support have given their consent in advance in the vehicle purchase contract. With only a few exceptions, all owners have given their consent as they see telemetry as the perfect way of providing the all-round service that they appreciate and enjoy using.
Data transmission between vehicle and server is effected with individual security certificates depending on the topic concerned. The security certificates are continually updated in line with the latest Volkswagen Group security standards. In the case of Bugatti, only a strictly limited number of highly qualified employees have access to the data. Access rights are also individually defined depending on the issue and the employees concerned.