Connected car trials reveal TCO benefits

November 25, 2016

One of Europe’s biggest live trials of connected car services has identified how technology could be used to enhance residual values and reduce total cost of ownership.

More than 10,000 vehicles have been undergoing live trials organised by the AA, a UK breakdown service, for the past six months.

Each car is equipped with a device plugged into its diagnostic socket.  The units serves two purposes.

Firstly, it can monitor driving style and report back on aspects of an owner’s performance in areas such as speeding and braking.

Secondly, the unit monitors a variety of data generated by the car, such as battery condition, electrics, engine management and other systems, identifying problems before they trigger a warning light or result in a breakdown.

Drivers are updated via an app on their smartphone. AA analysis shows that 85% of drivers check their app daily, but they also receive text alerts if there are problems.

During the first six months of a one-year trial, which finishes in 2017, one in five (17%) of the cars on test developed problems which were identified before they led to a roadside breakdown.

This enabled the AA to repair the fault and prevent drivers being stranded by the roadside.

One of the most common issues is battery problems. Normally drivers would not be aware of an issue until they tried to start their car. With the app, drivers are alerted to battery problems before they cause a breakdown.

Alan Ferguson, head of AA Connected Car, said: ‘We have been able to pinpoint potentially serious faults on some cars.’

In addition to reducing vehicle costs through preventative maintenance, regular feedback on vehicle use could reduce operating costs as owners adapt their driving style to improve fuel economy and minimise wear and tear on items such as brake pads and tyres.

Data from the app’s driving history could be used to reduce insurance premiums by demonstrating if drivers are lower risk.

Furthermore, a record of how a vehicle has been driven would offer an independent assessment of its condition to future buyers, which could enhance its resale value.

Ferguson said such a service was ‘certainly possible’ but emphasised that any decision to publish information would have to be in the hands of consumers themselves.

He said: ‘It is something that would be possible with the data and it could provide a snapshot of a vehicle’s history. We are a trusted brand and are seen on the side of the driver, so we would not use customer data in a detrimental way. If data was available then publishing it would be their decision.’

Autovista Intelligence reported yesterday on research that claims connected cars will be at the centre of a products and services market worth more than €1 trillion by 2030.

In-depth analysis of connected cars...

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