Warwickshire-based Autonect has developed a software platform for Halfords Autocentres, the after-market service chain with over 320 outlets across the UK.
The system had been on a 6-month test programme beginning March this year with selected Autocentre customers, and has received overwhelmingly positive responses.
The system offers drivers the ability to connect their vehicles to the Halfords Autocentre service system. This allows the automatic uploading of faults that are found, and gives the ability to book a service, repair or diagnostic check-up. Servicing, repairs and other work that is completed at a Halfords Autocentre will also be automatically added to your digital service history – all controlled by an Apple or Android smartphone.
Drivers also get the benefit of being able to track business mileage, monitor and improve their driving plus keep a track of where they’ve been and what it cost.
Autonect tech-boss Anthony Shemmans says the appetite for connected cars among UK motorists shows how rapidly things are changing. He added that
“If we’d suggested five years ago that your service centre could be alerted to faults in your vehicle as they happened, it would have seemed like sci-fi to some, but that’s exactly what we’ve achieved. We’re hugely proud to be working with Halfords Autocentres, undoubtedly the market-leaders in their sector, and it’s part of a continual process of development to make the package even more useful and appealing to our clients, and to car owners.”
The Autonect system doesn’t require any modifications to the vehicle, and in addition to fault reporting, it streams data on journeys, mileage and costs to the driver’s smartphone.
Security has been a major part of the development process, as Shemmans explains:
“Data privacy and security are always at the forefront of our products, and these are quite rightly amongst our users’ greatest concerns. We have built near-military levels of encryption into the basic platform, so that no motorist need feel threatened that their data will fall into the wrong hands.”
Autonect is now scoping a production-ready system which will drive further connected-car innovation in the aftermarket service sector, and is also discussing licensing their technology to a range of automotive organisations in the UK and overseas.