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Technology Newsmaker Q&A: Chris Gardner, AASA

Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 07:00
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In July, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association announced the formation of its Mobility Technology Council (MTC). Chris Gardner, the AASA’s senior vice president of operations, spoke with Aftermarket Business World to explain the mission of the new organization.

What was the impetus behind the launch of the new council?

The primary reason we launched the council was because a significant number of our members were already developing some of these mobility technologies. There were two challenges our members faced. One was they were seeking to identify smaller, younger technology startups to partner with; second, we have a lot of members that recognized they needed to be more involved and more in the know about the emergence of these technologies.

They recognize that in the future, their parts are going to be connected, data is is going to be collected from parts, and they needed to understand space better.

What types of technology are included in the council’s focus?

We have a very defined list of technologies, and while it is going to change as we go forward, the list includes, telematics, plug-in devices, sensors, onboard connectivity, predictive analytics, mobile apps, vehicle data platforms, and ADAS. So primarily these are vehicle-driven technologies, not business operations or supply chain technologies.

What are the MTC’s initial activities and priorities?

One focus is on education and thought leadership, and we have events planned around that.

The second one is to address major technology issues. We have active work groups working on this. One of those issues is accessing telematics and vehicle data, and the second is ADAS and making sure the aftermarket has the ability to calibrate ADAS-equipped vehicles.

We’re also bringing technology startup companies together with parts suppliers. We have an upcoming meeting in September, AutoTech Connect, and the whole purpose is matchmaking between auto startups and parts suppliers.

What are some of the challenges around ADAS?

The industry wants to make sure that vehicles operate properly and safely, and there are a lot of concerns around the ability for the independent aftermarket to calibrate these vehicles. Who is inspecting them? How do you know they work properly?

There are also issues around affordability. What happens when the third owner of a 14-year-old car sees those warning lights? Do they even bother having them calibrated, or do they just around with these systems not working properly? There are a lot of unknowns about these new vehicles.


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