Technology Expo Highlights Industry Cooperation
Auto Alliance offers shops latest look at future technologies.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) sponsored the first Innovation, Technology and Telematics Expo at NACE|CARS in Detroit last month. The one-day conference had been planned for months to educate shops about the latest vehicle technologies, policy issues surrounding these technologies and an outlook by automobile manufacturing experts about future technologies. In addition, NACE|CARS participants were given an opportunity to engage in a question-and-answer style forum with automotive industry leaders.
Expo participants included Frank Weith, general manager, Connected Car Services, Volkswagen Group of America; Steve Coker, head, Uconnect Operations, Chrysler Group LLC; Alan Prescott, attorney, Ford Motor Co.; Bob Stewart, general manager, Customer Care & Aftersales, ACDelco/General Motors; Eric Berkobin, vice president, Engineering, Verizon Telematics; Jules Polonetsky, executive director, Future of Privacy Forum; Roger Saul, Ph.D., director, Vehicle Research & Test Center, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Donny Seyfer, Automotive Service Association chairman-elect, served as moderator of the distinguished Expo panel. Seyfer commented, “I could not have been more pleased with the presentations at this inaugural program. The willingness to share information and work with the independent repair shop was evidenced by the participation of the original equipment manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I believe each of the nearly 200 participants left the program equipped with valuable information to take back to their shops.”
The Expo planning team wanted to ensure that shop participants heard first-hand where technology experts saw their companies headed in the future. OnStar Chief Operating Officer Terry Inch delivered the luncheon address and noted OnStar’s most recent achievements, the potential for growth with consumers and what technology possibilities lay ahead.
For those shop participants seeking more technical information, they were treated to an Expo Workshop led by Bob Wills, director of ASA’s Mechanical Division. The workshop included Dan Selke, Mercedes-Benz, “TRP Access Through NASTF SDRM;” Bob Gruszczynski, Audi/VW, “OBD Port Security;” Chetan Patel, General Motors, “GM Active Safety Systems;” and Donny Seyfer, Seyfer Automotive Inc., “Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”
NHTSA has recently identified three “distinct but related streams of technological change and development” that are occurring simultaneously. First, in-vehicle crash avoidance systems that provide warnings and/or limited automated control of safety functions; second, vehicle-to-vehicle communications that support various crash avoidance applications; and third, self-driving vehicles that are designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip.
With so much technology innovation occurring so rapidly, repairers want to be informed, trained and assured that information is available to serve their customers.
This past state legislative year saw several states consider legislation involving telematics or related issues. None of these bills being considered became law. ASA testified in California in opposition to new technology legislation, noting that the bill was premature. ASA argued that the repair industry had to first determine what issues or concerns were unresolved for repairers. The bill failed to move in California.
ASA leaders believe there is an opportunity for the industry to work together as we rapidly move into multiple new technology areas. These issues are important to both mechanical and collision repairers. ASA will continue to provide its members an opportunity to participate in developing policy important to automotive repairers. To learn more about related legislative and regulatory issues, please go to ASA’s legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com.