How will the Industry Adapt?

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The
Legality of Automated Vehicles

The soup of legal developments authorizing the use of autonomous vehicles on US roads is constantly becoming more complex. As of today, 29-states have enacted legislation for autonomous vehicles. Many more states are working on developing the correct regulations that work within the federal guidelines.

The Predicted Supremacy of Automated Vehicles

The prediction is that automated vehicles will be approved for sale (nationwide) and that car ownership is going to be replaced with taxi-like app-driven automated transportation services. While all of this sounds very scary to auto repair services and maybe even dealerships, the Y2K scare was based on the same type of technophobe doomsday logic. There is absolutely no reason to expect that the auto today will collapse overnight.

The Pitfalls of Automation

The
problem with vehicles, as opposed to other forms of technology, is
that engineering is not cut and dry. Motor vehicles involve more than
technology. Engineering the ideal motor vehicle is 50% science and
50% trial and error. We are not anywhere close to seeing this
prediction realized. Because life is so precious and autonomous
vehicles are never going to meet that impossible standard of
real-world perfection, the dream of automated vehicles is just that.
Anyone who is pushing for automated vehicles doesn’t understand
automotive engineering and the perplexing problems that automation
involves when you remove it from the vacuum of ideal road conditions.

If
every day was sunny, the roads were always dry, and few X-Factors
existed, then having a system of automated vehicles that operate a
lot like trains without tracks is plausible. While the majority of
airplane flights are now flown for the most part by autopilot, a
manned crew still needs to be there to take over when things start
going awry. An airplane or jet is much simpler than an automobile
because it is built for reliability (not performance) and has the
ability to fly in a predictable environment at altitudes above the
weather.

The amount of intelligence that a vehicle needs to truly replace humans is impossible. This is why Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts believe that automation will continue in its imperfect and unattainable plateau of remote human monitoring indefinitely. Automated driving is nothing more than cruise control with some redundant mapping and sensor capabilities to diminish the need for human intervention.

It
is plausible to see why the manufacturers of these vehicles would
want to change the business model of ownership, themselves. to
prevent owners from working on their own vehicles and complicating
the system with more engineering X-Factors. The problem is that
Americans are fond of ownership and are too wealthy to sit in the
rain for even a minute to wait for an automated public transit system
to accommodate them. The independent American spirit will always
desire to have ownership and personal possession of vehicles. Whether
a law mandates that all automated vehicles must be leased and receive
service at dealerships by expert technicians, remains to be seen.

Is Automation a Downgrade Rather Than an Improvement?

Most
Americans don’t just want to get from point A to point B. They want
to enjoy the ride and feel like they are in control. There is a great
deal of questionability about how these vehicles operating in massive
fleets can properly be insured and not suffer subtle
technology-related glitches as they age that make them dangerous. The
problem with automobiles is that weird things happen to them from the
chaotic environments and stresses they are under. The entire aspect
of performance in automobiles would evaporate overnight if automation
took over at the total saturation rates predicted.

While
automation makes sense for large cities, where vehicles travel at
slower speeds in dense traffic, as a form of customizable public
transit; they will always be an option, not the status quo. Driving
is something that Americans enjoy which makes the idea of automation
like a replacement for their favorite meal. While it may be
theoretically safer on paper, it would be a major downgrade to the
performance and personalization of automobiles that Americans desire.
Automation is something that fascinates nerds who think AI and
everything computer-driven is a new god for them to worship.

Why are Tesla Model 3’s So Popular?

People
are buying these vehicles because they are trendy. It becomes a
status symbol of wealth to prove that on some scale you are better
than others because of what you own. The owners are plainly not
buying these vehicles because they are trying to reduce money spent
on gas. They are not buying them because they want to reduce
pollution, considering that power plants produce more greenhouse
gases than the strictly regulated emissions from automobiles. It is
part of the male and feminist American ego to want to be king of the
hill and drive the latest and greatest piece of technology.

How Auto Mechanics Will Be Impacted by Autonomous Vehicles

Vehicles today are already filled with systems that are highly autonomous. Mechanics are now called automotive service technicians because just about everything they do involves integration with technology. Repairs are becoming increasingly technical. Nevertheless, the vehicle manufacturers have control over how the future industry will be shaped by autonomous vehicles. While it may be convenient to remotely download firmware upgrades and technical fixes, the mechanical parts of any vehicle will still require a similar form of service.

The
future of automotive repair on autonomous fleets of vehicles will be
handled by specialists. Dealerships will train their technicians to
diagnose and repair the problems just like they would on any modern
vehicle. The trend of automobile repair has been quietly moving
towards remotely supervised expert maintenance and planned
obsolescence for some time now. In the future, an automated vehicle
will reach its maximum life and be deemed dangerous after so many
miles or years. Leasing has already become a low-cost option that
allows drivers to deal with the planned obsolescence. Drivers receive
service only from dedicated specialists at the dealership and are
pressured to trade up every few years.

In
reality, we can’t expect that there will be any major changes to the
automotive industry. The trend of specialization will continue to
make car buyers and even passengers of automated fleets more reliant
on exclusive dealership service. The special training and resources
to competently maintain these vehicles may be legally relegated
solely to factory authorized service centers. Automation throws in a
huge X-Factor when it comes to leaving the quality of repairs in the
hands of amateurs. When there is no more room for error and less room
for human intervention, automotive service technicians will be
required to meet the same educational and licensing requirements of
other professionals.

The
major impact of this specialization and dealer monopolization will
hurt the general repair shops and aftermarket parts manufacturers the
most. When the question of safety becomes paramount because automated
vehicles need to be meet the highest safety standards, aftermarket
parts and second-rate mechanics will no longer suffice. However, they
will still be changing brakes and high-wear mechanical parts on the
large number of non-autonomous vehicles that still exist. The
semi-autonomous vehicles that will take over in big cities will be
all-electric, remotely monitored by human specialists, and built for
reliability with less service required.

Author’s Bio

Myles - ScanToolCenter.com

Hey there, I’m Myles the creator of ScanToolCenter. After being a mechanic for a few years, I always had trouble with my car diagnostic scanners, so I decided to dive deep into the subject and research them. After a few years, I think I would consider myself an expert (a guru at least). When I’m not tweaking the blog, you can usually find me in the garage playing around with my car.



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