Oct. 6, 2020—Last week, the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association hosted a webinar that outlined impending industry disruptions for the coming years. Frank Terlep, co-founder of Auto Techcelerators, and Jake Rodenroth, director of OEM and industry technical relations at asTech, highlighted five main topics that they believe will disrupt the automotive industry altogether.
Historically, the term “disruption” has negative connotation, but the disruptions outlined by these industry professionals serve to advance as well as enhance the landscape of the automotive industry as it stands today.
Technology has become commonplace in almost every facet of everyday life, and the automotive industry is no exception. The industry disruptions listed below stand to impact drivers, repairers, and society at large as the innovation of technology continues.
Electric vehicles are the future of transportation for a variety of reasons, chief among them are the benefits to the environment. Terlep says the rise of electric vehicles will cause a shift across the industry in regards to maintenance, manufacturers, and repair procedures. Terlep believes the number one reason EVs will become more popular is because the batteries prices keep dropping.
“Drop in cost, but increase in capabilities,” he says of EV batteries.
When you think of car manufacturers, the brands that come to mind are Ford, Chevrolet, and General Motors. But with the evolution of EVs, Terlep says technology companies will begin to make their own vehicles, changing the landscape of manufacturing entirely.
Along with the creation of the vehicles, the repair processes will also change. Electric vehicles require less maintenance than traditional vehicles, which Terlep says will have an effect on service intervals, software updates, and the parts market.
Terlep says the rising popularity of over-the-air updates is going to change the way vehicles are marketed, manufactured, and even guided through the repair process.
“If a car gets into a collision, the technician will need to know which version of the car’s software system they are looking at in order to properly fix it.”
The collection of data is the cornerstone of the automotive industry and will continue to act as such in the coming years. Car data once referred to miles per gallon and acceleration rates, but the changing arena will include these and much more.
Terlep says vehicle data will collect everything from environmental data via the vehicle’s sensors, to driving data such as drivers’ attention spans, to even assessing damage severity in the event of a crash.
The available data will streamline the collision repair process with the potential to bypass steps such as calling insurers, locating the nearest shop, and even writing the estimate—the vehicle will do it all.
“The connected car is going to be one of the biggest generators of data that exist on the planet today with new ways to communicate, diagnose, and more,” says Terlep.
Artificial intelligence will not only change the workings of the vehicle, but also the aesthetics. Terlep says features such as voice recognition, location services, object classification, and scene understanding will all be accessible from the cockpit of the vehicle.
“It is going to affect every aspect of the automotive industry,” Terlep says of AI.
Software implemented into the vehicles will have capabilities ranging from advanced driver assistance systems, to risk assessment, to the administrative process.
Terlep says apps will be able to diagnose which fixes the car needs, calculate labor costs, and even pin down the exact paint color needed to complete the repair.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
One of the newest technologies of the 21st century is the creation of virtual and augmented realities. These technologies provide a plethora of new processes for shop workers such as live training with model-specific simulations. Using augmented reality headsets, technicians have the ability to inspect, assess, and diagnose vehicles hands-free. Rodenroth says these advanced simulation systems have the potential to save time and more importantly, avoid mistakes during the repair process.
The question Terlep poses to all professionals in the industry is, “Are you going to be disrupted or are you going to be a disruptor?”
The industry is changing and the evolution of technology is unavoidable. Whether your shop chooses to evolve alongside it or be left behind, is up to you.