LolaDrives

LolaDrives is a mobile application for Android devices. Its primary use is to collect diagnosis data from passenger cars, to make Real Driving Emissions (RDE) Tests available to everyone, and to allow donation of the collected data.

LolaDrives will launch soon on Google Play. Stay tuned!
Beta Releases are available below.

Background

Lola Drives is part of a research project at Saarland University. The goal of this project is to uncover software behaviour, that is beneficial for the manufacturer of the software, but unwanted by the user or by society. In some cases, such functionality is actively hidden by the manufacturer. Such phenomena are called software doping.

It turns out to be very challenging to find doping in software without having access to its source code or documentation. There are several very well-known examples of software doping in the context of the Diesel Emissions Scandal, which started in 2015 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came across severe violations of exhaust emissions in several Volkswagen cars (and later, such violations were detected in cars of other manufacturers too). Due to the immense interest in this scandal, current software doping research in particular focuses on emission cleaning systems.

Users of LolaDrives can support this research by donating diagnosis data of their car, collected either during normal driving behaviour or when conducting an emissions test explicitly.

Technical Prerequisites

For using LolaDrives, in addition to a compatible Android device, it is necessary to obtain an adapter, which makes the diagnosis interface accessible via Bluetooth. Such adapters are available for around 10€.

Every not-very-old car should have the standardised OBD-II diagnosis interface. However, conducting RDE tests requires diagnosis data that is not accessible in every car. LolaDrives checks compatibility before an RDE test and reports lack of compatibility if some diagnostic data is missing. Data monitoring and recording is always available–for the data that can be accessed via OBD-II.

Real Driving Emissions

Real Driving Emission (RDE) Testing is defined in world-wide admission regulations for passenger cars. These tests were introduced as a consequence of the Diesel Scandal. In a sense, RDE tests make software doping of emission cleaning systems harder, because the car has to comply with the regulation defined emission thresholds for more driving scenarios than before RDE was introduced.

The intuition behind RDE tests can be explained very easily. The regulation defines a bunch of driving behaviours, that qualify for an RDE test. For every test drive that is driven according to these rules, the average amount of emitted gases (or particles) must be below a threshold, which is also defined by the regulation.

In practice, it is a little bit difficult to understand all the rules that must be considered when conducting RDE tests. If you are interested, there are plenty of websites explaining the details about how such tests are conducted (e.g., in this YouTube video). The most important details are also explained in the Help section of Lola Drives.

LolaDrives works without an external measurement device (mostly referred to as PEMS). Modern cars have onboard nitric oxide sensors that are necessary for the emissions aftertreatment system. The precision of these sensors is not as accurate as those of PEMS devices. The test results in LolaDrives can serve as an indication for how the car would perform in a “real” test. However, only tests with an appropriate PEMS can satisfy the strong requirements given by the regulation.

Beta Releases

Please be aware that the following pre-releases do not yet implement appropriate data privacy policies!

  • Beta 3, with disclaimer and privacy prompt enabled for a review by UdS law department
  • Beta 2, offered to TACAS artefact reviewers as part of our rebuttal
  • Beta 1, part of TACAS artefact submission

Scientific Addendum

  • LolaDrives is part of a scientific publication at TACAS 2021. The pre-print version of the paper will be available soon.
  • LolaDrives builds upon the real-time monitoring tool RTLola.
  • The RTLola specifications that are used internally, can be found here.