Emerging Technology: Automated Vehicle Inspection

Was that scratch there? Did you take pictures? Did you have your customer sign off acknowledging the unrelated damage? We have all gone through this painstaking process of making an inspection sheet, taking pictures, and getting acknowledgment from the customer. Only to hear after the repair, "that scratch wasn’t there before." Which leads to the question, "Do automated vehicle inspections have a future in collision repair?"

Currently there are multiple options for automated vehicle inspection solutions, for example Hunter’s Quick Check Drive Inspection, Coats Inspection Lane, or UVeye AI Vehicle Inspection. Each system is different but generally combines cameras and lasers to provide input to artificial intelligence which may output actionable data to the customer or estimator. The inspection may include images of exterior panels and undercarriage. Also, the state of alignment and tire wear. Vehicles may be identified by converting vehicle plate images to a VIN which is used to cross reference alignment data.

Cameras are placed in specific areas to gather images of exterior panels including the roof and undercarriage (if available). This may provide a consistent starting point to visually document the vehicle for related and unrelated damage.

When a vehicle is driven over the floor mounted or through the device the system utilizes lasers and camera images to scan the tire tread depth, wear, and vehicle alignment. The data collected could be used to identify suspension and drivetrain damage which can be hard to diagnose visually. The tire wear pattern data could inform an estimator of possible long term alignment issues that have been present.

Adding an automated vehicle inspection system to your shop can be beneficial in multiple ways. Not only does a shop benefit from a faster inspection process, but it also saves the time of putting a vehicle on an alignment rack for an alignment check or hoist to inspect the undercarriage. Which in turn increases safety in the workplace with less opportunities for accidents. Improved customer transparency to their vehicle condition at drop-off with supporting documentation. Lastly, adding the option for easy self-service vehicle drop off may add opportunities to engage other customers.

There can be some disadvantages from an automated vehicle inspection. Missed instances for in-person customer experience opportunities. Maintenance or repairs needed to the equipment may add obstacles to production. Some information may have to be evaluated with approved OEM equipment or processes to proceed with repairs

Currently, these systems are being used at dealerships, independent repair facilities, and auction houses. They are considered accurate but should not be utilized in place of an evaluation by a trained professional or in place of necessary steps required to properly repair the vehicle.

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