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New vehicle technology will hit global highways without a driver

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 09:00
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As new technologies move the dream of driverless cars closer to reality, global carmakers have ramped up development and testing (along with non-traditional companies like Google’s Alphabet, Tesla and more), and roads and highways across Europe and Asia have opened for testing of driverless vehicles.

Driverless vehicles have the potential to solve numerous global transportation problems, from relieving congestion in large urban areas to providing increased mobility for the elderly and disabled in remote areas.

Advances in all vehicle technology go beyond driverless vehicles and are transforming mobility and the driver experience. However, even in the era of driverless cars and advanced technology, motorists all over the world still need an effective independent automotive aftermarket to service, repair and maintain their vehicles.

These new technologies open a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for the global automotive aftermarket industry. The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) is advancing its supplier members’ interests in advanced technology. Its Connected Aftermarket and global outreach initiatives are exploring the increasing ways in which motorists, vehicles and repair facilities are connecting in both domestic and global markets.

There are many aspects to this growing niche industry – sensors and ECUs, OBDII port connectors, gateways and wireless networks connected to cloud-based servers, mobile apps for drivers that serve up vehicle health and diagnostics information, and the ability for motorists to compare, schedule and pay for maintenance and repair jobs. All of these are increasingly positioning consumers to assume more of the decisions about caring for their vehicles.

The Connected Aftermarket represents a tremendous opportunity for connectivity, branding, functionality and more. However, three challenges must be addressed to meet this potential:

· Real estate – vehicles only have one OBDII port and one or two cigarette lighter ports – and several entities want access to vehicle data through these connection points

· Collaboration – Traditional hard parts suppliers and emerging technology companies must develop ways to collaborate.

· Data owners – Steps should be taken to ensure motorists own their vehicles’ data and are enabled to use the data to make decisions regarding their vehicles.

Suppliers have a long history of serving as the key innovators of advanced vehicle technologies. The dialogue is open between aftermarket suppliers and vehicle manufacturers to find solutions and continue to provide motorists around the world with safe, reliable transportation and service for their vehicles.

For more information about AASA’s Connected Aftermarket and global outreach initiatives, contact Jay Burkhart, AASA chief strategy officer, ( and Ben Brucato, AASA director of membership (

Editor’s note: AASA exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products that support 710,000 employees in the United States. AASA promotes a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members. AASA is the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

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