Fleet News

The car that talks to mechanics

Fleets will be able to get instant diagnosis of the state of vehicles just by driving past sensors in the future.

An intelligent in-vehicle system that can tell mechanics which parts of a car need servicing was recently unveiled at a European technology show in Strasbourg, France.

The specially-adapted Fiat prototype can alert garage staff to the state of its components in seconds by using smart electronic sensors inside its engine, cutting the amount of time and money vehicles are off the road.

Designed by engineers at the Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing, the car has Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, each with its own unique identification number attached to the car’s engine parts.

To undertake a healthcheck, the vehicle is driven at a low speed over a one-metre square servicing pad, which is fitted with an ultra-high frequency reader and four antennae.

As the car passes over the pad, the readers transmit the identity number from the electronic tags to a computer which can cross-reference this information with a computerised database to identify those parts that needed to be checked for wear.

Cambridge professor Duncan McFarlane said that when the car is scrapped the RFID tagging could be used to identify which parts still have a useful life left in them, as well as which parts can be reused, recycled or disposed of in landfill. “It will also highlight which parts need improving for a longer life,” he said.

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