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Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD) – Architecture and How it Works

Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System is one of the leading fields that deals with identification of defects in a vehicle and controlling it remotely. This post will discuss in detail about what is Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System, its Architecture, how it works, Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages.

What is Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD)

The main aim of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System is to provide independent diagnostics for a vehicle. This system is capable of finding faults in a vehicle. It alerts the driver and sends the data to the Remote Server. It is used in vehicles to deal with the detection of defects and controlling it remotely. It solves the problem of traditional vehicle diagnosis which failed due to geographical limitations.

Introduction to Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System

Fig. 1 – Introduction to Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System

This system is based on Telemetric Framework that uses an on-board Microcomputer system, called On-Board Smart Box (OBSB), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and a Remote Server for Remote Monitoring of Vehicle Diagnostics and geographical position. It implements the functions of Real-time monitoring, fault diagnosis and alarming. It gets vehicle data via CAN bus, transmits data to monitoring center by GPRS and Internet network. Fig. 2 shows the schematic of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System.

Architecture of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD)

The architecture of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System consists of:

  • Vehicle ECU (Electronic Control Unit)
  • Microcontroller (ECU) (LC 1768)
  • Vehicle Interface Circuit
  • OBD ii Port
  • GSM Module
  • GPS Module
  • Signal Conditioning and Protection circuits
  • LCD


Architecture of Vehicle diagnostic new

Fig. 2 – Architecture of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System

Vehicle ECU (Electronic Control Unit)

Vehicle manufacturer installs the vehicle ECU’s (Engine, ABS, TCS and ESP etc.) on a vehicle and is capable of fetching all the data such as DTC’s, freeze frame, (VIN) Vehicle Identification Number, etc. The ECU is capable of providing all the stored data through Diagnostic protocols designed by the manufacturer.

Different vehicles are designed with different protocols such as CAN protocol is used by Hyundai, ISO (KWP) protocol is used by TATA & Maruti Suzuki and J1850 is used by GM and Ford vehicles.

Microcontroller (ECU) (LC 1768)

LPC 1768 Microcontroller is the main ECU in Remote Vehicle Diagnostic (RVD) System. It is designed to handle the overall operation of the system. Microcontroller is coded with the OBD service codes and with various combinations of PID’s based on the design and as the user sends request, it communicates with vehicle and also the same data is sent to the Remote Server through GSM Modem with GPRS Service.

Vehicle Interface Circuit

Vehicle Interface Circuit acts as bridge between vehicle and LPC1768 ECU. Standard RS232 is used for data transmission. It consists of Microcontroller and other signal conditioning circuits.

OBD ii Port

The OBD port is located near the dash board of the vehicle and the Vehicle ECU obtains data through OBD port. In order to collect the data the end user is connected to the vehicle interface circuit and OBD PID’s (Parameter Identifiers) is passed.

GSM Module

In Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System, GSM is useful in establishing the communication between the RVD system which is located on the vehicle and Remote Diagnosis Center. GSM Modems are classified as SIM 300 and SIM 900 Modems.

GPS Module

GPS device used in RVD system to find the vehicle on the map, and is capable of giving the latitude and longitude information to the ECU. The same information is transferred by the same ECU to the server.


It is the display Unit. It displays the status and diagnostic information.

Remote vehicle new

Fig. 3 – Schematic of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System

How does Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD) Work

The research on Remote Vehicle Diagnostics was to create a hardware and software to interface a vehicle with a Network Architecture which is of ‘Cellular’ type to get data for better analysis. Design and Development of required system start with engineering process to identify the core requirements of the product.

Based on the requirements, Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD) is connected in vehicles to share in-vehicle sensor and diagnostic information with remote computers and it enables vehicle diagnosis and maintenance to be performed remotely. Various vehicles data like live sensors data, Freeze Frame Data, Diagnostic Trouble Code etc. are checked to find the faults and to get the necessary information about maintenance.

dataflow modelnew

Fig. 4 – Data Flow Model of RVD System

The Remote Vehicle Diagnostic application and the Remote Server application is developed by software development. The software tools used are Keilμ Vision (ARM IDE), Windows based Server with c# or WAMP, Scan Master – ELM, Hercules and TeraTerm. To program the LPC1768 Micro controller Keilµ Vision is used and it is the Integrated Development Environment software tool. WAMP is Windows based Apache server and MySQL and PHP software platform allows to create web applications with Apache 2, PHP and MySQL database.

Scan Master – ELM is an application which can be interfaced with vehicle to obtain the data, Scan Master application is used for the initial testing purpose of the vehicle data. Hercules and TeraTerm are the hyper terminal applications and it is used for displaying the data received from GSM modem and Vehicle respectively.

To obtain the vehicle’s geographical position, it also communicates with GPS satellites. The server application receives the data from the vehicle and displays the vehicle status, including the Real-time position of the vehicle. The server application will log all the critical parameters received from the vehicle in corresponding MySQL database records.

Applications of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD)

The applications are:

  • Remote Monitoring.
  • Navigation.
  • Automatic crash notification.
  • Fleet Management.

Advantages of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD)

The advantages include:

  • RVD System can examine automotive faults and internal sensor values even if the car is running on the road or parked in the garage, without the involvement of a vehicle service technician.
  • Remote Diagnostic System can aid in reducing operating costs and increase safety by early detection of parameters like electronic circuitry issues, engine oil level.
  • Early warnings of problems may prevent some on-road breakdowns.

Disadvantages of Remote Vehicle Diagnostic System (RVD)

The disadvantages include:

  • The System method of collecting data also has its drawbacks, starting with its physical limitations. Most vehicles have only a single OBD-II port, meaning that other devices may compete with telematics applications in this space.
  • Second, the hardware costs are higher for Remote Vehicle Diagnostic Systems. Unlike a smartphone or mobile telematics solution, these systems require the production and distribution of a physical device.
  • Finally, there are vehicle compatibility concerns. Only recently manufactured vehicles are guaranteed to have an OBD-II port. As we all know, there are many older vehicles on the road today and this limits the appeal of the Remote Vehicle Diagnostic solution.
Also Read:
Embedded System - Characteristics, Types, Advantages & Disadvantages
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Electronic Fuel Injection System (EFI) - Architecture, Types, Applications
Rini is a Major in Automotive Embedded Systems and is a keen learner. She is is an author, editor and partner at Electricalfundablog.
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