What is OBD, and how is it used in the logistics business?

As the name implies, On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is used to diagnose vehicle issues that result in increased emissions. OBD is an electronic device that regulates the vehicle’s output by tracking and monitoring the network of sensors within the vehicle. The data obtained by OBD can also be used to alert the user to vehicle problems.

Heavy-duty vehicles account for a large proportion of the logistics market. OBD has been mandated for heavy-duty vehicles and engines with a GVWR(Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of up to 14,000 pounds since 2005. 

Vehicle monitoring systems have evolved over time, with the OBD systems being one of the most powerful. It has made diagnostics simpler for technicians to determine the exact issue with the vehicle and correct it as soon as possible to improve regulation. As a result, OBD is extremely important in the logistics industry.

What are the components present in the OBD system?

A traditional OBD system comprises several components such as a network of sensors, a link point, and indicators that function together to form a complete vehicle monitoring system with standardized access and readability.

OBD is an electronic component that integrates with the vehicle’s other electronic components. In the event of a failure, OBD gathers data from all sensors and sends error signals to the vehicle’s ECU (Engine Control Unit).

The Engine Control Unit (ECU) is the essential element that collects and stores all of the vehicle’s signals received through OBD. The ECU recognizes the signals and then sends corrective signals to the vehicle’s problems.

How OBD helps in Diagnostics

“Prevention is always better than cure,” similarly, diagnosis of a vehicle’s problem is better before it occurs. 

The OBD for diagnostics is a work of art connected to all of a vehicle’s vital components. It is a crucial method for diagnosing, repairing, and exploring the vehicle’s different parameters.

When a vehicle has a problem, you can see an engine with a red color indicator or a warning sign that means that something is wrong with your vehicle.

When a vehicle malfunctions, the OBD sub-system generates codes that show the basic issues with the vehicle. Diagnostic Trouble Codes are the names given to these codes (DTCs).

Now, these trouble codes are now used by technicians to troubleshoot the vehicle and locate the root cause of the problems using an OBD scanner. This makes diagnosing the problem and coming up with fast solutions simpler and more effective for the mechanic.

As a result, OBD provides a detailed view of issues to logistics managers, allowing them to better care for their fleets and provide routine maintenance, lowering service costs and time.

OBD for better Performance

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is not only used to diagnose vehicle issues but it can also be used to increase the vehicle’s performance. When it comes to vehicle efficiency, it’s all about the vehicle’s power and throttle response without cutting any wires.

It helps to increase MPG (Mileage Per Gallon) and boost fuel economy, resulting in significant cost savings. An external chip is connected to the OBD connecting port in order to achieve such results.

Simply plug the output chip into the OBD link port,  the vehicle’s power and performance will be increased in under a minute. These are pre-programmed chips that load new, pre-tuned motor-specific fuel maps into the ECU (Engine Control Unit) to increase the vehicle’s power and efficiency.

OBD 1 Vs OBD 2

There are two types of OBD scanners, OBD-1 and OBD-2. Both tools differ in terms of their features, connectivity, use, and standardization. 

OBD 1:

  • OBD 1 was the initial self-diagnosis device and was the first version of On-Board Diagnostics technology.
  • The OBD 1 has wired connections.
  • Only the most basic engine problems are verified by OBD 1.
  • Only manufacturer-specific codes are available in OBD 1, which has fewer Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).
  • The CAN interface protocol is not supported by OBD 1.

OBD 2:

  • On-Board Diagnostics 2 (OBD 2) is a more advanced version of the technology. It’s also known as the federal uniform standard, and the government backs it up.
  • The OBD 2 is not a corded device; instead, it can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth or wifi.
  • More Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), generic codes, and manufacturer-specific codes are available in OBD 2.
  • The BIM-01-2 OBD-2 (J1850/CAN) Interface is important because it allows you to plug directly into the engine diagnostic port and extract engine and transmission data from the vehicle’s computer (ECM). Compatible with OBD-2 protocols SAE J1850 VPW, SAE J1850 PWM and ISO 15765 CAN 500k 11-bit identifiers that follow the SAE J1979 PID protocol.


The standardized OBD-2 offers various facilities to access many types of data, including:

  • The state of the vehicle’s emissions.
  • The state of the “Check Engine” light.
  • Troubleshooting Codes (DTCs).
  • Oxygen sensor test results.
  • Number assigned to a vehicle (VIN).
  • The total number of miles driven.
  • The number of times an ignition cycle has occurred.

Apart from that, they provide a standard way to access real-time parameters such as RPM, Speed, Airflow Rate, Coolant Temperature, Spark Advance, and so on. 

CAN bus commands are needed for a variety of applications, including diagnosis, security monitoring, and autonomous driving. Only a limited portion of CAN bus commands, however, are standardized. The reverse engineer of CAN-BUS communication is now the most effective method for diagnostics.

Presently, VAMOSYS collaborates with Bosch India on Vehicle Prognostics, mainly for commercial vehicles adopting the method of reverse engineering CAN-BUS communication by collecting data from telematics devices.

EURONORMS BS4, BS5 (skipped) and BS6

Euro Norms are international technical standards that control polluting emissions from a wide range of commercial and industrial activities. Euro Norms specify the acceptable emission standards for both petrol and diesel vehicles for automobiles.

Catalytic converters have been made mandatory for all cars sold in metros. BS1, BS2, BS3, BS4, and BS6 are some of the euro standards for automobiles.

Let’s take a closer look at the BS4 and BS6 euro standards currently in use.

BS-4 (Bharat Stage – 4):

In April 2017, the BS-4 standards were made mandatory across the world. The pollutants emitted by petrol engines were limited to 1.0 g/km of carbon monoxide, 0.18 g/km of hydrocarbons + nitrogen oxide, and 0.025 g/km of respirable suspended particulate matter. 

The diesel vehicles emitted 0.50 g/km of carbon monoxide, 0.25 g/km of nitrous oxide, and 0.30 g/km of hydrocarbons + nitrogen oxide. The sulphur content of BS-4 compliant fuels was limited to 50 parts per million.

Car manufacturers used larger catalytic converters to convert BS-3 compliant engines to BS-4 compliant engines in order to reduce nitrogen-based emissions. Modified air intakes and exhaust systems were also mounted on BS-4 engines. 

BS-6 (Bharat Stage – 6):

On April 1, 2020, India adopted BS-6 emission standards, bypassing BS-5 and going straight to BS-6. BS-6 pollution requirements limit carbon monoxide emissions from petrol engines to 1.0 g/km, hydrocarbons + nitrogen oxide emissions to 0.16 g/km, and respirable suspended particulate matter emissions to 0.05 g/km.

The diesel models emit 0.50 g/km of carbon monoxide, 0.06 g/km of nitrous oxide, and 0.17 g/km of hydro-carbons + nitrogen oxide. In addition, the sulphur content of BS-6 compliant fuels was limited to 10 parts per million.


Sushanthi is a Content Writer who wishes to be the voice of brands to project their innovative ideas and stories through her writing skills.

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