Hyundai have announced that they are planning to make car repairs a thing of the past, thanks to a new concept ‘smart maintenance service’ that spots and repairs vehicles without the driver noticing.
That doesn’t mean that Hyundai specialists turn up at your house in the middle of the night and fix the problems in secret, that would be daft. The car’s engine would be hooked up to a computer that sends data to a Hyundai centre, where agents would be able to adjust the car’s settings and perform repairs remotely. Pretty nifty.
You won’t expect to see this car any time soon though, as Hyundai admit it is only a concept, and part of their mid-to-long term plans. In the short term, they are working on technologies that ‘bring the car to life’, especially ways in which mobile phones can be synced more easily.
The plan to have a car that is ‘smart’ is ambitious, as it would mean self-driving, self-fixing, traffic detecting, integration with mobile technology and more adaptability to the rapid changes in science and technology. It’s not only Hyundai who are moving towards these goals though; take Ford for example.
One of the main reasons car repairs are needed are from unnecessary accidents, and one way to make accidents less frequent is to make your car safer for other cars to be around. Ford impressively designed glare-free headlights, which use a mounted camera to recognise oncoming headlights from up to 800m away. The headlights block any light that may temporarily blind other drivers, reducing the chances of accidents and injuries.
Ford are an exception to the desire for a self-fixing car, they actively support human to car interaction, as they believe there is an art to vehicle maintenance. They reportedly do a lot of their testing in soundproof cells where an expert can listen for any flaws, rather than use robots that do it for them. The experts are trained using deliberately faulty engines, so they know which sounds to listen for! By listening to the engines and making sure they are faultless when they leave the production line, they reduce the amount of car repairs needed further down the line by the vehicle’s new owners.
For those in our industry, a world where car repairs don’t exist is perhaps a little daunting. If car repairs can be automated, in theory, so could MOT Tests, clutch repairs, wheel alignment, brake replacements, fluid changes etc. It’s not hard to image a room, a bit like an automatic car wash, that could repair your car with various pneumatic arms.
Perhaps though, the ‘self fixing’ car might still need mechanics, just less frequently. Tyre repairs are unavoidable, brakes should be changed regularly and liquids in the engine can’t magically appear out of thin air. The smart service would surely only slow down the effects of driving on the vehicle, and with more cars joining our roads every year, perhaps mechanics would still be fine.
What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in a world without car repairs? Tweet us @InTownAuto