A Look at the Future of Vehicle Intake

May 16, 2024
UVeye is a 'drive-through MRI system for vehicles.' One shop director says it’s revolutionized his shops.

Seemingly overnight, AI has become the topic of conversation in every industry. Companies, regardless of what their services or products are, are trying to shoehorn artificial intelligence in their marketing wherever they can.  

It seems surprising, then, when a product actually properly uses AI and can provide a product that helps its customers. William Demaree, group director of fixed operations of the Tom Wood Group of automotive dealerships, says UVeye has been that tool for his shops.  

UVeye is a "drive-through MRI" system. Using an array of cameras and sensors on an arch scaffolding, the system scans a vehicle as it drives through. In a matter of seconds with the help of AI-based software, shops can have a full readout of a vehicle with thousands of images cataloguing every dent, scratch and leak. 

A powerful tool, it can help shops revolutionize their operations if used properly, Demaree says. 

The Problem 

We all seem to need more time. No matter how efficient we can make our day-to-day processes, there always seem to be new tasks that come in and fill up that newly freed time.  

In addition, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to make sure that vehicles are repaired safely and completely. With increased reliance on electronics such as cameras and sensors, even a minor fender bender can be dangerous if those components aren’t tested and restored to working order. 

“We do a consultation with our guests and blueprint every vehicle. That might take three weeks by the time you make the call and schedule the appointment for the consultation,” Demaree says. “What we've seen is some of these cars aren't safe to drive because they may have run over something and have no idea that the undercarriage of the car is damaged. We have seen cars that have been scheduled for three weeks drive through that have core support damage that nobody even knew about.” 

The Solution 

Though it’s not a one-stop solution, Demaree says UVeye has been a revolutionary tool in his shops that has helped provide customers peace of mind if they’re not able to get their vehicle in for a consultation right away after an accident. 

“The consultation may be in three weeks, but we encourage you to come by for a safety scan and go ahead and drive through our system just so we can make sure that the car is safe to drive over the next couple of weeks,” he says. “That's been a huge hit and I think it lifts the weight off the customer, all just by driving through the UVeye system.” 

The UVeye system uses AI to help it recognize a problem area on a vehicle and learn what to point out in its scans. Demaree says the UVeye team is constantly updating the software that the system uses and pushes out updates regularly.  

In the early days, the system had some blind spots, but through the help of shops using the system, the UVeye team has since been able to improve the accuracy and efficiency. 

“When we first put it in there were some struggles, but we have weekly calls with their team and identify things that it's missing,” Demaree says. “They do software pushes on this thing weekly, so usually as we're identifying problems, they're fixing them and pushing it into our systems. They get corrected pretty fast. It's really pretty dialed in.” 

Demaree says, in addition to helping expedite the consultation process, the UVeye can also provide peace of mind and defense against false allegations of damage by one’s team. 

Demaree describes a situation that recently happened in one of his shops. A Porsche came in and had a scratch on the hood and a small scuff on the front bumper. The customer accused Demaree’s team of causing those. But, because of the UVeye scan, Demaree and his team had extensive images and records from when the vehicle was dropped off, and both flaws were clearly visible in those images.  

“That's a $12,000 issue that we would've had to deal with had it not been for UVeye,” he says. “We take pictures, we do the walk arounds, but sometimes the iPad's quality is low or sometimes the angle isn't right. The UVeye eliminates that.” 

The Aftermath 

The UVeye is a powerful scan tool that can help detect hard-to-notice body damage and other flaws, and the AI-based software is constantly evolving. However, as is the case with essentially all AI-based technologies, the UVeye is still a work in progress. 

The team is constantly working with shops to find weak points in the software’s detection capabilities and upgrade the system. In the time that Demaree’s shops have used UVeye, there have been several instances in which techs have caught errors that the system has missed. For instance, Demaree said for a while the UVeye struggled to maneuver large offroad tires. It also can’t fully diagnose if electronic components aren’t working. 

“It'll pick up anything that's misaligned, but it won't pick up if a sensor is not working. Not yet, at least,” Demaree says. “They're working on some technology for that, but right now it can pick up if there is something that is going on in the vicinity to the sensor.” 

Any shop that decides to invest in a UVeye system, Demaree says, needs to understand that it’s a collaborative experience. He’s on weekly calls with the team working through issues and trying to figure out potential solutions. 

“They've come a long way on the product,” he says. “The support team is outstanding.” 

The Takeaway 

The UVeye vehicle MRI system, Demaree says, is a fantastic tool for a tech-forward shop. It can help provide insurance against customer accusations, and it can help overhaul a shop’s intake and diagnostic process. 

“It’s up front with our customers and is so transparent that it just... it is what it is,” Demaree says. “It doesn't lie – it just shows you the facts of what's going on with your vehicles.”  

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