Car repairs can be time-consuming as the customers need to call in or drop by the repair shop to book their appointments. And it might so happen that the shop they are in doesn’t have the spare parts they need. Meanwhile, performing basic car maintenance also takes time, because most of the routine tasks like checking the DPF, oil, coolant, antifreeze, and such are done manually. Fortunately, we’re living in an increasingly technological world as industries continue to advance with innovations, and the automotive industry is no different. These technological advancements will result in more efficient processes in automotive repair shops. Below are a few examples of these innovations:
Telematics is essentially a system that allows for the long-distance communication of information between a car’s powertrain computer and another computer — in this case, one located in a repair shop. There are already some examples of telematics technologies, such as the Vehicle Stability Control, which is a system that helps prevent a car from skidding while turning. But for the auto industry, automotive telematics can give consumer-based services using wireless connectivity. Onboard diagnostics can detect any problem in the car, such as a malfunctioning sensor. It will then generate a Diagnostic Trouble code that telematics will send to the repair shop.
Utilizing telematics allows the shop to be able to quickly tell what component or vehicle system is experiencing a problem. This means they’ll be able to fix the problem in a timelier fashion as the service centers will be able to have a replacement part ordered, delivered, and ready to install as soon as possible.
An interesting innovation in the auto industry is robotics. There are already a few of these in action, such as Audi’s telepresence robot, which works alongside their car mechanics. This is a remote-controlled robot that’s equipped with cameras and a screen. Telepresence saves time and resource because it allows mechanics in Audi shops to instantly communicate with experts and technicians in Audi’s technical center in Michigan.
Another impressive example is Rolls-Royce’s robot snakes and bugs, which can help with car engine repairs. These were designed to carry tiny cameras that give real-time visual feed to operators as they inspect an engine’s inner workings. Rolls-Royce’s inventions eliminate the need to remove or strip down an engine, saving money and time. The auto industry’s robots have high density interconnect board designs, which have allowed manufacturers to place multiple components onto a single printed circuit board. This gives one robotic all the hardware it needs to perform complex tasks.
Auto diagnostic tools
Cars are more complicated now than they were decades ago. This can make diagnostics and troubleshooting quite difficult and laborious — and non-problems might worsen later on, such as when a TPMS sensor isn’t working optimally. Fortunately, to make diagnostics easier, there are now automotive scanners that reduce the need to tinker with a car to find out if it’s in good working condition.
The second generation of these scanners is known as On-Board automotive Diagnostics-II (OBD2) scanners. A car’s computers monitor data from its components then store diagnostic trouble codes if something goes wrong. Sometimes, this causes the check engine light on your dashboard to turn on. OBD2 scanners like the Autel AL539 can retrieve the trouble codes to tell you what’s wrong with a car. More advanced models like the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro Model LSB2 can connect to smartphones or tablets so the data can be read through an app.
As the above innovations show, the future looks very positive for the auto-repair industry.