Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New 'magic box' can detect and pre-empt breakdowns

New 'magic box' can detect and pre-empt breakdowns

In a move that appears to go against the RAC's business model, the renowned breakdown recovery firm has released a piece of technology that aims to detect faults with vehicles before they conk out at the side of the road.

The telematics and diagnostic system dubbed the 'magic box' (real name RAC Advance) is a small, matchbox-sized device that will act as an early warning system that can connect the stricken car to the RAC's engineers who will be able to determine faults before arriving on the scene.

Most news cars already have built-in diagnostic software that mechanics and garages use when a vehicle goes in for a service or maintenance, but RAC Advance goes one step further and transmits this information via a sim card.

Detailed readings and vital information can then be sent to the breakdown firm or even the user's mobile device in an attempt to pre-empt parts failure.

It is also hoped the device will also make drivers appreciate the importance of driving more economically - potentially saving £327 a year (based on driving 12,000 miles) - by providing drivers with useful information on their driving efficiency and ways to improve it.

It takes minutes to install, according to RAC technical director David Bizley. He said: "Offering peace of mind in a box, RAC Advance will revolutionise how we deal with members. We know that some breakdowns can be avoided with a pre-emptive warning and intervention and this will significantly advance how we are able to deal with an actual breakdown or accident, reassuring our members that they are in safe hands.

"With an accurate fault diagnosis and vehicle location, our patrols will be able to reach members more quickly and where possible, prepared with appropriate replacement parts.

"Our promise is to be the motorist's champion and our aim is to make it easier, safer, and more affordable for our members to own and run a car."

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