Car repairs could be carried out faster as chips are adapted (Photo: ATU)

A German research project holds out a promise of faster diagnostics and shorter auto repair times.

The project, which is called Diana, involves semiconductor maker Infineon, automotive supplier Continental and premium car maker Audi along with several German research institutes and universities

Infineon said in a press release that the project had found ways to improve the diagnostic capabilities in semiconductor components and other systems in such a way that, from 2015, car repairs could become much faster and easier.

Today's cars use, on average, 80 electronic control units and, because of the complexity of automotive systems, it is often difficult to find the exact reason for an error reported by these systems.

Researchers in the Diana project have addressed this issue by letting automotive chips be used directly for a vehicle's own diagnostic system. As a result, the ECUs in a vehicle can constantly monitor themselves both before and while the vehicle is driven. This allows error detection at an earlier stage.