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What the body repair shop of the future might look like

Body repair centres will start to look more like high-tech laboratories in future, if the predictions of a panel of experts come true.

Assembled by Direct Line, the panel included accident repair specialists from Thatcham Research, ‘smart city’ analysts DG Cities, and the Women’s Engineering Society.

The top ten innovations that they predicted would be a reality in car repair centres by 2050 were:

  • Holographic and Augmented Reality technology
  • Advanced robotics to assist with manoeuvring and adjustment of vehicles
  • 3D printing of car parts to improve turnaround time for repairs
  • Ultra-connected workshops
  • Hyper clean work areas akin to laboratories
  • Self-diagnosing cars
  • Video communication technology for mechanics to speak with customers
  • Advanced laser welding
  • Space saving car storage
  • Innovative staff training areas for mechanics to learn as technology evolves

Diagnosing problems could become as simple as the car itself telling the engineer what the issue is – sometimes before anything has even gone wrong.

Holographic and augmented reality technology could be built into vehicles to enable drivers to fix minor problems at the roadside with help from professional mechanics remotely.

Driverless cars may even be able to drive themselves to the garage to be checked, so motorists wouldn’t even need to leave their home to get a MOT. Instead, they could speak to a mechanic via video calls.

Waiting for a spare part to come into stock at a garage may also become a thing of the past.With on-site 3D printers, technicians will be able to make replacement spare parts very quickly whenever they are required.

“It’s really exciting to think that holographic and AR technology, advanced 3D printing, and connected vehicles that allow mechanics to find the route of a problem quickly, will begin to become a reality,” Felicity Harer, the Motor Network Technology Specialist at Direct Line Group said.