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MOT Update: What connected equipment means for your business

MOT Update: What connected equipment means for your business

30 September 2019

Following on from announcement that all new roller brake testers purchased from October 1st 2019 must be able to connect to the MTS, the DVSA has released a Special Notice stating the rules for the new equipment and how to connect them.

Read MOT Special Notice 04-19: MOT Connected Equipment in full here:

1. About MOT connected equipment

Some types of equipment can connect directly to the service you use to record MOT test results. This means that test results can be automatically transferred to service without the need for manual data entry.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is introducing a rule that means new or replacement equipment you buy must be able to connect to the service.

The first piece of equipment this applies to is roller brake testers (RBTs). The rule applies from 1 October 2019.

2. Who it applies to

The rule applies to any applications to:

  • Open a new MOT centre
  • Reopen a closed MOT centre (this applies regardless of how long it’s been closed)
  • Make a change of ownership of an MOT centre (where it moves from one authorised examiner (AE) to another)

It also applies if you want to:

  • Replace the current RBT
  • Add an extra test lane including an RBT

2.1 Who the rules do not apply to

The rule does not apply if:

  • You’re making a change to an existing AE (for example, where you add a new partner and keep the same AE number)
  • Your application was received by DVSA before 1 October 2019 – you can install any RBT that was approved at the point you applied

3. How you connect equipment

You need a software code (called a ‘key’) to connect equipment to the MOT testing service.

You must get the key before you install your equipment.

Email motadministration@dvsa.gov.uk at least 14 calendar days before your equipment is due to be installed. You need to include this information in your email:

  • Your MOT centre number (sometimes called ‘vehicle testing station’ or ‘VTS’ number)
  • Your AE name and number
  • Why you need a key, for example, you’re installing new equipment, or you’ve lost the original key
  • Which type of equipment is being installed, for example, an RBT
  • The name, role, username (if applicable) and email address of the person who needs to be sent the key

You must keep keys secure. Only give them to the engineer installing your equipment.

You’ll get instructions about how to use the key when it’s sent.

3.1 After the equipment is installed

Connected equipment only sends results for live MOT tests - it does not have a trial mode. You and the tester need to check that the results have been sent through on the first test after the equipment is installed.

Contact the equipment supplier immediately if results are not sent through.

3.2 Connecting existing compatible RBTs

You may be able to install software on existing RBTs to allow them to connect to the MOT testing service. Check with your supplier to see if your equipment is compatible.

3.3 If you’re upgrading equipment

The AE designated manager or site manager must tell DVSA if an existing authorised MOT centre is upgrading to connected equipment.

  1. Sign in to the MOT testing service.
  2. Go to the VTS page.
  3. Select Change testing equipment.
  4. Enter the details.
  5. Email motadministration@dvsa.gov.uk to request a connection key. Include the information listed in section 3.

4. What happens if equipment fails

The rules about equipment failing are not changing. They’re in section B4, paragraph 4 of the MOT testing guide.

If the RBT fails, you can continue testing pre-booked tests for 2 days using a decelerometer. You must then stop testing.

However, if the problem is only with connecting to the MOT testing service, you have 7 calendar days to fix the problem. After this, you must stop testing.

The MOT testing guide will be updated to reflect this.

5. Other types of connected equipment

DVSA plans to introduce other types of connected equipment following on from successful trials. These are:

  • Emission gas analysers
  • Diesel smoke meters
  • Decelerometers
  • Headlamp beam testers

DVSA will issue special notices when this equipment will be introduced into the test. This should be in early 2020.

Matters of Testing Connected Equipment Blog Post

The DVSA have also released a new blog post about why they are introducing connected equipment. Chris Price, Head of MOT Policy, writes on the Matters of Testing blog: “As you know we’re introducing connected technology to the MOT, starting with connected roller brake testers from October this year.

We’ve wanted to do this for a while, but the technology hasn’t been ready. That’s changed recently and we’re now able to take vehicle testing forward, saving you time and improving accuracy.

More accurate testing

Modern testing equipment now captures lots of information about a vehicle in real time. But we still ask you to manually key that information into the MOT computer.

This is prone to errors and adds time to the test. Connecting equipment directly to the MOT system will reduce errors and save time. In the long term, this will help to reduce or eliminate the number of incorrectly entered results, as well as stopping incorrectly entered vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and mileage.

Headlight alignment is also still a major source of errors in the test. The modern connected headlight aligner will assess the headlamp aim for the tester and send the result straight to the MOT system.

Using this technology will not only make testing more accurate, it will also help reduce fraud. This is because an actual roller brake test will have to have taken place for a result to be recorded.

At the moment, a roller brake test result can theoretically be entered without any evidence of a roller brake test having taken place. Connected equipment will make it more difficult for dishonest testers.

Saving you time

One big advantage of connected MOT equipment will be the time it saves MOT garages. Instead of a tester carrying out a test, noting down the result, then entering it manually, it will be recorded instantly.

The time saved per test won’t be massive – we think it should save you a couple of minutes per test - but when you do hundreds of tests a year, the savings will add up.

Future proofing

Vehicle technology is changing. Systems such as Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) and lane departure are becoming the norm. And as we slowly adopt hybrid and electric vehicles and, longer term, autonomous vehicles, the MOT test needs to keep pace.

That means we need to use the latest technology that can match the most up to date vehicles. That will involve creating a fully integrated, digital MOT service fit for the 21st century. Introducing MOT equipment that can connect and directly report to the MOT testing service is an important part of that process.

Working with the manufacturers

We’ve been trialling connected equipment with manufacturers for over a year. This includes:

  • Roller brake testers
  • Emissions analysers
  • Decelerometers
  • Headlight testers

We’re also experimenting with connecting to vehicles during the MOT via the European on-Board Diagnostic port (EOBD). We’ve successfully extracted the VIN, the mileage and, in some cases, fault codes from a high percentage of vehicles.

As well as this, we’re discussing adding number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) into the test bay. Having a photo of every vehicle will help with registering the vehicle for test and reduce fraud.

A view from the ground

The Test Centre in Deptford has been involved with the trial. Ian Wills, the authorised examiner designated manager (AEDM) for the site said:

“As the busiest MOT Station in the UK, we need equipment that is reliable and efficient. We’ve been working closely with Boston Garage Equipment to trial brake testers and emissions testers in our three test centres.

Using this equipment gives us more accurate results, direct onto the MTS System making it quicker for our testers and customers alike; both critical factors in our business success.

We are always seeking ways to reduce workloads on our testers and with the equipment now being connected, it removes any ambiguity, ensuring safer vehicles for our customers.

Also, at The Test Centre Training School, we strive to be market leaders and always demonstrate best practice. Connected equipment is the beginning of the future for the motor industry and it’s great to see DVSA understanding the needs, to make life easy in the 21st century.”

The Garage Equipment Association (GEA) is on board

The GEA is fully engaged with us and now has 16 connected roller brake testers from 2 manufactures on the approved equipment list. Lots more will be following soon, so garages will be able to benefit from a wide range of connected equipment just as they have done so far with non-connected items.

Lots of equipment already in use in garages today can be connected. So it may simply be that the software in the equipment needs updating, with no need to replace the whole device.

The GEA will list software versions that meet connected standard and equipment manufactures and installers will be able to provide a simple upgrade.

Making the changes

We don’t expect every garage to rush out and start purchasing connected equipment. So, we’re adopting a phased introduction.

From 1 October this year any new applications to operate a test station must install a connected roller brake tester. Also from this date, any replacement roller brake testers installed in already approved sites will need to be connected.

We’ll introduce more equipment types as they become approved by the GEA, using the same approach to the brake tester mentioned above.”

The DVSA are encouraging feedback in response to this new information. You can click here to submit a comment at the bottom of their web page.

Click here to find more information about MOT garage equipment on the GOV.UK website, or click here for the GEA’s current list of all DVSA acceptable equipment.

If you need any further assistance with connected equipment, please call the IGA direct member helpline or 0845 305 4230.