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Automotive Diagnostics

This module is one of three linked modules related to automotive electrical and electronic systems: Automotive Networking, Automotive Diagnostics, and Automotive Test Techniques. Ideally these modules should be undertaken in this order.

These modules form part of the Jaguar Land Rover MSc course in Automotive Engineering.

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide a comprehensive theoretical and practical understanding of the concepts and principles underlying automotive diagnostics as applied to modern premium vehicles, from both a vehicle OEM and component supplier perspective.
  • Develop a theoretical and practical knowledge of current international and OEM specific diagnostic standards and tools and their relationship to service and manufacturing diagnostics.
  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of the diagnostics development process for service and manufacturing diagnostic implementations, including requirements for both on-board and off-board diagnostics.
  • Develop a detailed knowledge of systems of systems engineering principles and an understanding of how this impacts on the development of automotive diagnostics for complex and highly distributed automotive networked control systems.
  • Evaluate and critically analyse the suitability of potential diagnostic approaches to support the deployment of future safety-critical applications.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the objectives and principles of automotive diagnostics
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge of the different requirements for engineering, service and manufacturing diagnostics and describe how a diagnostic would be implemented for a particular application
  • Participate in all stages of the diagnostic development process including, design, implementation, and diagnostics validation - at both a component and system level
  • Utilise advanced engineering, manufacturing, and service diagnostic tools to monitor, analyse and interpret diagnostic performance and be capable of diagnosing a fault using appropriate diagnostic tools
  • Evaluate the impact of complex, highly distributed network architectures on the requirements for automotive diagnostics and develop appropriate systems of systems engineering approaches to the development and validation automotive diagnostics
  • Evaluate the requirements and critically analyse the suitability of new automotive diagnostic technologies to support advanced safety-critical systems deployment


  • Diagnostic Modes and Services
    • implementation using ISO14229.
  • Diagnostics development process from both OEM and supplier perspectives
    • including: documentation; configuration; validation; authoring process for service diagnostic fault finding.
  • In-vehicle software.
  • Diagnostics requirements for manufacturing.
  • Diagnostic case study on a recent vehicle.
  • Off-board diagnostics tools
    • implementation and practical experience.
  • Systems of Systems engineering principles
  • Future diagnostic developments.
    • Safety critical systems and Drive-by-Wire applications