By Alex Dugas
Chicago, Illinois — July 26, 2017 — NACE Automechanika is now officially underway at McCormick Place West in Chicago. As the official Canadian Media Partner of NACE Automechanika, Collision Repair magazine is onsite to bring you all the of the latest updates. The first day of this year’s show included one of the most eagerly anticipated events: the Advanced Technology & Diagnostic Repair Forum.
Presenters Sean Carey of SCG Management Consultants and Dave Hobbs helped to get the event underway and defined the discussion with back-to-back presentations on connected cars and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Following the presentation by Hobbs, much of the event consisted of discussion panels with panelists drawn from various parts of the industry. These discussions aimed to address the coming of new technologies such as automated and semi-automated vehicles, connected cars, and how the technology contained in these vehicles will change the industry as we know it.
A particularly insightful discussion sought to answer the question: “Will Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) force Salvage and Aftermarket Parts into extinction?” The panel was moderated by Mark Olson, President and Founder of Vehicle Collision Experts.
The panelists were Terry Fortner, Vice President of Corporate Accounts for LKQ, Jake Rodenroth, Director of Client Services at Collision Diagnostics, Vincent Claudio, Senior Vice President of Gerber Collision and Glass and Jason Macco, Manager, Body/Exterior Aftersales Engineering for General Motors.
“What needs to be kept in sight here is that we don’t have all of the answers,” said Olson. “New technology is rushing past manufacturers as well as repairers like a runaway freight train and everyone is simply trying to jump on board.”
The discussion was far-ranging, but there seems to be little in the way of concrete answers. Gerber’s Claudio may have summed it up best.
“What we can do is prepare by taking absolutely everything into consideration,” he said.
Another panel at the Advanced Technology & Diagnostic Repair Forum discussed the impact and role of government and regulation on the future of OEMs. On the panel were Nat Beuse of the US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dan Gage of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Gary Ledoux of American Honda.
Panelists tackled issues such as cybersecurity and liability. “Cybersecurity is a worldwide issue and will not necessarily be resolved any time soon,” said Gage. “The industry needs to find a way to safely get on board.”
Again, the discussion was focused on getting prepared for the future of the industry faced with new technologies. “Liability issues are tremendous when it comes to automated vehicles,” said Ledoux. “With this increase in liability every shop needs to be trained and ready for their arrival.”
Panelists also highlighted the need for manufacturers to remain as transparent as possible, filling the need to work hand-in-hand with repairers as the entire industry dives in to new technology
If there was one overarching message from the Advanced Technology & Diagnostic Repair Forum it was this: get trained and prepare for new technologies. They are closer to fruition than we may think they are.