GM tool warns of po­ten­tial part fail­ures

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

DETROIT — Imag­ine if your car could warn you about a po­ten­tial main­te­nance prob­lem be­fore it be­comes an ex­pen­sive break­down. Our cars have got­ten pretty smart over the last 30 years. Car­bu­re­tors are long gone, be­ing re­placed by computer-con­trolled fuel in­jec­tion, and just about every car made comes with a built-in di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem to help pin­point er­rors in the event of an un­ex­pected fail­ure.

Now, Chevy is look­ing to make our four­wheeled com­pan­ions a lit­tle bit smarter by in­tro­duc­ing the in­dus­try’s first pre­dic­tive tech­nol­ogy, dubbed Proac­tive Alerts.

In short, Chevy has de­vel­oped a set of al­go­rithms that al­low a car’s computer to mon­i­tor cer­tain sys­tems and de­ter­mine if a fail­ure of that sys­tem is im­mi­nent.

That’s what Gen­eral Mo­tors says it can do with its new on­line ser­vice, On­star Proac­tive Alerts.

Much like the on­board sys­tem of the Boe­ing 787, which sends in-flight mes­sages to ground crews warn­ing them be­fore the plane even ar­rives about com­po­nents that need in­spec­tion, Proac­tive Alerts con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tors the car’s starter mo­tor, fuel pump and bat­tery. It if it spots an anom­aly, it’ll warn you to take your car in for ser­vice, this re­duc­ing un­ex­pected re­pairs.

This is how it works: Every time you start your car, the sys­tem col­lects a small batch of data as a base­line, and mon­i­tors those pa­ram­e­ters con­tin­u­ously while you drive. How­ever, it also com­pares the read­ings with those of every other vehi- cle of the same model whose owner also sub­scribes to the ser­vice, analysing your car’s per­for­mance against an enor­mous data­base.

That way it can tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween a low bat­tery charge — which can be fixed by go­ing for a short drive — and a high in­ter­nal re­sis­tance, which is usu­ally the first sign that your car’s bat­tery needs to be re­placed.

Any com­po­nent that isn’t work­ing prop­erly will stand out like a pur­ple cow, and the sys­tem will im­me­di­ately send a warn­ing mes­sage that’s dis­played on your car’s data screen, as well as your choice of ei­ther a text mes­sage or an email.

New job de­scrip­tion Steve Hol­land is the chief tech­nol­o­gist for ve­hi­cle health man­age­ment at GM — and it’s an in­di­ca­tion of how far warn­ing sys­tems have al­ready pro­gressed that such a job de­scrip­tion ac­tu­ally ex­ists.

“Ac­cu­racy is the key to our pre­dic­tion al­go­rithms,” he said. “We’ll be able to in­form deal­ers’ ser­vice de­part­ments so they don’t have to spend time test­ing for a prob­lem we’ve al­ready di­ag­nosed. They can re­place the nec­es­sary parts quicker and get the cus­tomer back on the road as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

For now, Proac­tive Alerts is avail­able only to own­ers of 2016 Chevy Sil­ver­ado, Ta­hoe, Sub­ur­ban, Corvette and Equinox mod­els who sub­scribe to On­star, and it’s not avail­able at all in South Africa. How­ever, plans are in place for it to mon­i­tor more com­po­nents, on more mod­els, in the fu­ture.

There are a num­ber of mod­els on the mar­ket that can tell you when they need an oilchange, and two sim­ple wires em­bed­ded in the fric­tion ma­te­rial will tell you un­err­ingly when your car’s brake pads need re­plac­ing, but Hol­land claims this is the first such sys­tem to of­fer this level of self-di­ag­nos­tic ca­pa­bil­ity. Are we see­ing the dawn of the age of the car as hypochon­driac?

— iol

Dubbed “Proac­tive Alerts,” the sys­tem mon­i­tors a ve­hi­cle’s bat­tery power, fuel pump and starter, alert­ing the On­star sub­scriber to an is­sue when one is about to oc­cur.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.