The future of repair centres

The future of repair centres

New research released has found the auto repair business is struggling to reach top gear, as it faces a diversity dilemma with over a quarter of Brits (26%) and less than one in five women (19%) saying they would consider a job in a car garage.

The research carried out by insurance provider Direct Line Group, found that nearly six in 10 (59%) Brits would dismiss the profession as it simply doesn't interest them. Others perceive it as strenuous and labour intensive (17%) and nearly one in 10 women think it's a 'man's job' (9%).

In a bid to help the industry change lanes and drive awareness of the diverse range of opportunities on offer, the Group has teamed up with leading experts to take a future-forward look at the innovations and improvements they predict will be a reality by the year 2050.

Working with Thatcham Research, DG Cities and the Women's Engineering Society, the insights collated showcase the exciting technology the industry is embracing. Forget what you know, it's going to be more Tom Cruise in Minority Report, than Danny Zuko in Grease with repair centres to become hives of technology more akin to a laboratory than a workshop.

Holograms will no longer just be a fantasy in films like Iron Man and Star Wars, with the technology set to be used to assist mechanics in accurately repairing car problems. Likewise, according to DG Cities, holographic and augmented reality technology will be built into vehicles to enable drivers to fix minor problems at the roadside with assistance from professional mechanics remotely.

The top innovations experts predict will be a reality in auto repair centres by 2050:

  1. Holographic and augmented reality (AR) technology
  2. Advanced robotics to assist with manoeuvring and adjustment of vehicles
  3. 3D printing of car parts to improve turnaround time for repairs
  4. Ultra-connected workshops
  5. Hyper clean work areas akin to laboratories
  6. Self-diagnosing cars
  7. Video communication technology for mechanics to speak with customers
  8. Advanced laser welding
  9. Space saving car storage
  10. Innovative staff training areas for mechanics to learn as technology evolves
  11. Mobile electric charging stations to keep vehicles batteries in peak condition

According to industry experts the mechanics of the future will need to be more computer savvy than ever as technological advancements driven by electric and autonomous vehicle development continues.

Ultra-connected cars mean diagnosing car conundrums could be as easy as the car itself telling the engineer what the issue is – sometimes even before anything has gone wrong. This will strike a chord with nearly two in five (38%) Brits who say they want to see more accurate diagnostic tests to help improve repair accuracy.

Professionals also foresee that driverless cars may even be able to drive themselves to the garage to be checked, meaning people won't even need to leave their home to get a MOT. Instead customers will be able to speak with mechanics via video calls.

However, expert's hope it is isn't just technology that changes in the industry. The research highlighted the perception problems the industry faces, with nearly a third of Brits (29%) admitting they don't associate repair garages with engineering, demonstrating a lack of awareness that it is a highly skilled profession. In addition, when asked what term they associate most with a car garage, nearly two in five (38%) women said 'male', compared to just 27% of men.

There is hope for the future though, as more than three in five (62%) Brits believe more women should be encouraged to work in car engineering with support for this highest among 18-24-year-olds, with nearly three quarters (73%) saying so.

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July/Aug 2019
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