August 2, 2017

Unsure Who to Trust with Automotive Service? Ask Your Car

Automotive writers have a penchant these days for throwing around hot keywords like ‘big data’, ‘cloud’, ‘autonomous vehicles’ and others to harvest clicks, but there’s one subject that’s yet to garner the same press: predictive servicing.

The core relationship between today’s consumer and the repair shops they frequent is a relatively simple one: a vehicle breaks down or requires maintenance so a customer contacts a shop and brings it in. It sounds simple enough, but ask anyone you know about the last time they had to bring their car in for service and I’m sure they’ll tell you otherwise. It’s understandable, being without our main mode of transportation can really put the brakes on life in more ways than one. There must be a better way, and with the emergence of Automotive Cloud Technology (ACT), there is.

All modern vehicles have a recommended service schedule determined by their manufacturer. These intervals are largely based on mileage and/or time. In days past we were implored to exchange our engine oil every 3,000 miles, but with advances in synthetics and vehicle technology this largely no longer applies. I won’t lie, I feel almost uncomfortable not changing my oil every 5,000 or so miles, regardless of the suggested service schedule. That’s my preference, but it brings up a larger point. Who will drivers trust in the future to inform them when it’s time for service? Oil brands? Manufacturers? The answer may surprise you: we’ll trust our cars.

As vehicle technology evolves, so will service needs. Shifts away from traditional mileage or time based servicing will introduce a vastly superior type of maintenance schedule: on demand. While traditional ICE automobiles are comprised of about 30,000 moving parts, electric vehicles up the ante with an impressive array of sensors, sophisticated control modules, and independently controllable motors. When BMW debuted the 745Li in 2002 it came loaded with over 80 different control modules! That’s 80 miniaturized computers controlling everything from door locks to adaptive headlights. The point is this is: the vehicle of the near future will be able to tell you both when you need service and predict a failure before it happens.

Here’s how: ACT integrates a complex network that collects, analyses, and shares service, maintenance, and part failure rate data across the entire automotive OEM and aftermarket supply chain. This data, when leveraged with the right platform, will become your new service schedule. Let’s call it “smart service”. In turn, vehicles become more reliable and drivers gain peace of mind. Better parts, smarter businesses, one Integrated ecosystem – all possible with ACT.

If you’re wondering what this will mean for your business, you’re asking the right question.

Josh Burwick, SHIFTMobility Inc.

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