Garages of the Future


Garages of the Future

The automotive repair industry is facing a recruitment struggle as just over a quarter of Brits (26%) including fewer than one in five women (19%) would consider a career in a garage.

So to challenge these out of date perceptions, leading industry experts have teamed up to predict the garage of the future including innovations such as holograms, robotic assistants and ultra-connected car diagnostics.

Garage Perceptions

New research carried out by insurance provider Direct Line Group found that nearly six in 10 (59%) Brits would dismiss the profession as it simply doesn’t interest them. Others perceive it as strenuous and labour intensive (17%) and nearly one in 10 women think it’s a ‘man’s job’ (9%).

Working with safety researchers, Thatcham Research, smart city innovators, DG Cities and the Women’s Engineering Society, the insights collated showcase the exciting technology the industry is embracing. Forget what you know, we’re told that garages are to be more like laboratories than workshops in future.

Garage Innovation

These are the top innovations experts predict will be a reality in auto repair centres by 2050.

1. Holographic and augmented reality (AR) technology.
2. Advanced robotics to assist with manoeuvring and adjustment of vehicles.
3. 3D printing of car parts to improve turnaround time for repairs.
4. Ultra-connected workshops.
5. Hyper clean work areas akin to laboratories.
6. Self-diagnosing cars.
7. Video communication technology for mechanics to speak with customers.
8. Advanced laser welding.
9. Space saving car storage.
10. Innovative staff training areas for mechanics to learn as technology evolves.
11. Mobile electric charging stations to keep vehicles batteries in peak condition

Because technological advancements are already being influenced by the likes of electric and autonomous vehicle development, diagnosing car faults could be as easy as the car itself telling the engineer what the issue is. This will strike a chord with nearly two in five (38%) Brits who say they want to see more accurate diagnostic tests to help improve repair accuracy.

This will also be good news for the third of this sample (35%) who’d like to see faster repairs. For example, waiting for a spare part to come into stock at a garage could soon become a thing of the past, thanks to on-site 3D printers, allowing repair technicians to create replacement spare parts in an instant.

Professionals also predict that driverless cars will drive themselves to the garage to be checked, meaning people won’t even need to leave their home to get a MOT. Instead customers will be able to speak with mechanics via video calls – welcome news for over a fifth (22%) of Brits who dislike the need to arrange alternative transport while their car is at the garage.

Automotive Industry Image

The other area that technology should help the industry with concerns its tarnished image. Nearly a third of Brits (29%) in this survey admitted they don’t associate repair garages with engineering, demonstrating a lack of awareness that it is a highly skilled profession.

In addition, when asked what term they associate most with a car garage, nearly two in five (38%) women said ‘male’, compared to just 27% of men.

There is hope for the future though, as more than three in five (62%) Brits believe more women should be encouraged to work in car engineering with support for this highest among 18-24-year-olds, with nearly three quarters (73%) saying so.
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Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer at the Women’s Engineering Society, said:

It is fantastic that strides in technology have been made in repair garages, however, in order to make the automotive engineering sector more diverse and encourage more women to consider it as a viable career option, we must ensure that this starts with education from an early age. Curriculum traditionally tends to teach children about gendered careers from foundation level, which is perhaps why there are so few women in engineering. We hope through education and the exciting developments within the industry we can promote engineering as an exciting profession for all members of society.”

And looking at this issue from the point of view of the FOXY Lady Approved garages we work with in 2019 we’ll settle for cleaner garages as more business owners realise that a cleaner workshop results in a cleaner working atmosphere, setting the benchmark for customer facilities and happier customers.

For example, our customer feedback confirms that the one factor that lets otherwise competent garages down is often their cleanliness. Some motorists think it is inevitable that garages will be dirty places because of the work they do, whereas we know better, having seen the ones that work hard to keep their workshops and customer facilities squeaky clean. It can be done and we’d like to see more garages doing precisely this in 2019.

For more information about the Direct Line Groups Graduate Scheme and careers in this business area see https://www.directlinegroupcareers.com/.

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