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Technology advancements affect all aspects of automotive industry

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 07:00
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Advances in automotive technology have allowed major auto manufacturers, innovators and collision repair professionals to make significant changes in the way cars are driven, crashed and repaired, which in turn impacts the auto insurance industry. Preventing an accident from happening is the best way to prevent injury and financial loss, so collision avoidance is the focus of many of these improvements. Many of these technological advancements are already on the market, but many more complex and comprehensive advanced driver assistance systems will be standard on high production model vehicles in the next few years. All of these changes will drastically change how both repair estimates and the repair process are managed.

Increased security measures
Today’s vehicles are equipped with a wealth of sensors and electrical systems designed to help with the most challenging parts of driving, such as judging the distance at which to begin braking, adaptive cruise control, cross traffic alert, parking assist, lane departure warning signal, and blind spot assist. By simplifying these complex maneuvers, sensors and control modules can minimize the everyday accidents that result in costly damage.

How driverless cars can increase safety on popular roadways
Self-driving cars are closer to becoming a reality than ever before, with automakers and technology giants both vying to be the first to perfect the technology. Driverless cars use a complex combination of cameras and sensors to detect obstacles and potential hazards in the car’s path. Ideally this would result in fewer accidents than a human driver would cause, particularly due to the fact that a human driver may be distracted at any given time. Tesla’s driverless car was involved in a fatal accident in May of 2016, but “Tesla has responded to the event in part by pointing out that this is the first crash after 130 million miles of Autopilot use, while U.S. drivers overall average about one death per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Though Tesla’s sample size is not big enough to make the case on that comparison alone, it’s at least an early indicator that Autopilot does make the cars safer” (Morris, What Tesla’s Fatal Crash Means for the Path to Driverless Cars; Fortune, 07/03/2016). This makes the potential for error within the vehicle’s systems less likely than the potential for human error.

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Pre- and post-repair scans
Remote diagnostic scanning of vehicles damaged by a collision is a rising trend in the auto body repair industry, partially because of the increase in sensor technology within vehicles. Even after all of the visible damage to a car’s body is repaired, the internal sensors and electronic systems may be damaged or require resetting in order to function properly. This can be denoted by a malfunction indicator light somewhere on the dashboard, but the MIL does not always light, and when it does, determining the cause of the light can require hours of labor. By using a remote scan device like the asTech™ device, repair technicians can ensure all components of a vehicle are working properly. This minimizes the chance of an accident happening due to malfunction in these safety systems, and also reduces the need for follow up visits to the repair shop.

Technology is sure to have a widespread effect on vehicular safety over the coming years. As driving becomes safer, the auto insurance industry is likely to see a change in the frequency and severity of accidents taking place on the road, but when these technologically advanced vehicles do need to be repaired, collision repair professionals need to be equipped to handle the sophistication of the repair. With the help of the asTech™ device, they can be.

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