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November

How technology is changing maintenance services

Simonluca Pini Contributing Editor Sole 24 Ore

Connected cars, 5G networks and predictive maintenance. Technology will change the work of mechatronics engineers forever
Automotive is undergoing a radical transformation, starting with increasingly hi-tech vehicles able to travel in a connected ecosystem. Increasing technology will also be a valid aid for mechatronic engineers, capable of constantly monitoring the status of the vehicle and acquire, at the same time, new tools for customer loyalty.

If, on the one hand, technology may seem like an obstacle, on the other hand it opens up new scenarios. In fact, the large number of on-board sensors can provide all kinds of information in predictive fashion on possible breakdowns or malfunctions, thus alerting the specialist who will be able to contact the customer and book an appointment before a major damage occurs, much to the benefit of safety and very often also of the total cost of repair. All this will be amplified by travelling in connected cities, because it will be possible to intercept new customers through IT platforms. Although this may still seem like science fiction, in the not-too distant future car and tire repairers will see in real time which type of car will drive past and be ready to offer services tailored to the motorist’s needs. Of course, training will play a key role in this transition, where mechatronics specialists will have to acquire the correct skills and tools, which must then be updated on a consistent basis. This is already happening as secondary schools and universities are producing specialized technicians able to work on connected and electric cars. The second step comes from training courses with new forms of learning.

An example? A German premium manufacturer borrowed ideas from the world of gaming creating a "video game" capable of simulating, step by step, an intervention on a high-voltage battery of one of its zero-emission cars. Obviously, the ultimate aim is not to have fun but to train operators in dealing with issues that may be encountered only sometimes (for example, removing the battery pack of a plug-in hybrid car), which can become easier to manage in the correct time. Another technology that is increasingly used in training is augmented reality, thanks to which the levels of detail and interactivity during the training sessions increase exponentially.  





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