AAAA To Work With Joint Select Committee On Road Safety

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) says it has welcomed the formation of the government’s new Joint Select Committee on Road Safety.

The committee will inquire and report on steps that can be taken to reduce Australia’s road accident rates, trauma and deaths on the country’s roads, aiming to present an interim report by 30 March 2020 and a final report by 31 July 2020. The AAAA says it wants to engage with the committee on the role that vehicle servicing plays in road safety.

While newer vehicle designs, construction and new safety technologies are major factors in reducing crash numbers, serious injury and death on our roads, the AAAA says it’s regular maintenance and servicing that ensures vehicles continue to operate safely on the roads for years to come. With the longer-term trend of lower new car sales and consumers holding on to their cars for longer, regular servicing is more important than ever.

According to AAAA research, 30 per cent of vehicles are not receiving regular or required services, increasing the risk of component failure or other issues that directly impact vehicle safety. The cost of servicing remains a key reason behind this statistic, so ensuring servicing remains affordable and that consumers have a choice is the best way to increase the number of vehicles that are regularly serviced.

“We are eager to provide the Joint Select Committee information around affordable measures that encourage owners to have their vehicles regularly serviced and maintained, including a mandatory data sharing scheme for independent workshops,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of AAAA. “The AAAA has long championed a mandatory data sharing scheme on behalf of independent service and repair professionals across the country. Denying consumers their choice of vehicle service provider is a threat to competition and safety.”

According to the AAAA, Australia lags behind other countries in relation to data sharing, with Europe and the USA having regulations in place to encourage regular vehicle servicing and consumer choice. However, the association says it’s confident that a mandatory scheme is forthcoming, continuing to work with the government on behalf of the automotive service industry to make sure the implementation of this scheme is achieved in a timely manner.

The AAAA says it will work proactively with the Joint Select Committee to highlight the importance the vehicle service and repair industry has on road safety outcomes, and outline how the association can assist the industry in playing their role in reducing the nation’s rising road death toll.

IIHS Researchers Find Little Benefit From Knee Airbags

While airbags are essential, lifesaving devices that have prevented tens of thousands of deaths, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States has found that knee airbags have a negligible effect on injury risk and, in fact, may even increase it in some cases.

Knee airbags usually deploy from the lower dashboard and are intended to distribute impact forces to reduce leg injuries. They may also help reduce forces on an occupant’s chest and abdomen by controlling lower body movement.

To find out if knee airbags improve safety, IIHS researchers examined both crash test data and information from real-world crash reports.

For the first part, they looked at injury measures from more than 400 frontal crash tests conducted as part of the IIHS vehicle ratings programme to see if injuries were less likely when vehicles were equipped with knee airbags.

To look at real-world outcomes, they compiled crash reports from 14 states and compared injury risk in vehicles with knee airbags to risk in vehicles without them.

According to the IIHS, knee airbags had only a small effect on injury measures recorded by dummies in IIHS driver-side small overlap front and moderate overlap front crash tests. In the small overlap test, knee airbags were associated with increased injury risk for lower leg injuries and right femur injuries, though head injury risk was slightly reduced. The airbags had no effect on injury measures in the moderate overlap test.

In the analysis of real-world crashes, knee airbags reduced overall injury risk by half a percentage point, from 7.9 percent to 7.4 percent, but this result wasn’t statistically significant.

“There are many different design strategies for protecting against the kind of leg and foot injuries that knee airbags are meant to address,” said Becky Mueller, an IIHS senior research engineer and co-author of the paper. “Other options may be just as, if not more, effective.”

The IIHS says one reason some manufacturers have been installing knee airbags is to help vehicles pass USA federally mandated tests with unbelted dummies. It’s possible that knee airbags would help unbelted occupants in real-world crashes. The IIHS study didn’t look specifically at crashes in which people weren’t using seat belts, and dummies are always belted in IIHS vehicle ratings tests.

Tesla Model 3 And Audi A6 Achieve High ANCAP Safety Scores

Tesla’s Model 3 has achieved strong results in the areas of occupant protection and active collision avoidance, scoring a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The Audi A6 sedan also performed well, achieving five stars.

A score of 96 per cent was achieved by the Model 3 for adult occupant protection with full points achieved for the driver in three of four destructive crash tests. Full points were also scored by the front passenger in the frontal offset test which simulates a head-on crash. The vehicle scored maximum points for child occupants in the side impact test and 94 per cent in the safety assist category, the highest score achieved against current protocols.

The Model 3 is equipped with a range of driver assistance systems, including an advanced lane support system capable of emergency lane-keeping which actively intervenes to avoid steering into the path of an oncoming or adjacent vehicle.

“This is an impressive result, and great to see electric vehicles continuing to prioritise safety,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin.

“It is encouraging to see Tesla give equal attention to the active safety systems and technologies on board as well as the safety fundamentals through the structure and restraints.”

ANCAP said the Audi A6 is well equipped with a range of safety features and technologies. It performed well across the range of assessments and is equipped with an active bonnet to reduce injury to pedestrians.

“The Audi A6 offers a good mix of safety systems for adults, children and other road users,” said Goodwin.

Five-star ANCAP safety ratings apply to all Australian and New Zealand variants of the Tesla Model 3 and Audi A6 variants.

CIECA Webinar To Examine Artificial Intelligence Black Box Impact On Claims

CIECA has announced its next CIECAst webinar titled Inside the AI Black Box: Understanding How Algorithms Appraise Auto Damage in Seconds.

The webinar will be held on 8 August at 10am CST and will feature two people from UK artificial intelligence (AI) software company, Tractable: Julie Kheyfets, head of North America, and estimating research lead Marcel Horstmann.

During the one-hour live broadcast, Kheyfets and Horstmann will explain how AI generates repair estimates from photos. They will walk through the fundamentals of computer vision, share a live demo, and highlight key considerations for organisations pioneering AI.

Kheyfets leads the North America business for Tractable, where she works closely with collision industry players who are adopting Tractable’s technology. Horstmann leads the Machine Learning and Product Development teams for Tractable’s AI estimating product. Since its start in 2014, Tractable says it has deployed its AI solutions across North America, Europe and Asia, and processed hundreds of thousands of claims.

Following the CIECAst webinar, attendees will have the opportunity to take a short quiz to earn credit toward a professional designation from the Automotive Management Institute (AMi).

To register for the CIECAst, visit this link.

I-CAR Announces New Gold Class Insurer

I-CAR Australia has announced that RACQ Insurance, QLD, has been awarded the I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status.

“We’re proud to be recognised for investing in ongoing training and development of our motoring assessors at the highest industry level,” said Brian Woodrow, Manager of Technical Support at RACQ. “Our members’ trust is paramount to us so this endorsement shows they are being looked after by the best in the business. As vehicle and repair technologies continue to evolve, RACQ is committed to equipping our team with leading-edge skills to deliver a seamless repairer and member experience.

“Our partnership with the I-CAR team has been very positive, and we look forward to continued engagement in the future.”

“RACQ Insurance has shown an unwavering commitment to technical training and as a result have achieved I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status,” said I-CAR Australia’s CEO, Mark Czvitkovits. “The I-CAR Gold Class accreditation is the highest level of technical training within the industry and ensures that all assessing staff have the skills, knowledge and expertise to ensure safe and complete repairs for their members. This is a great achievement by everyone at RACQ Insurance.

“As Australia’s fifth insurer to achieve Gold Class, it underlines the importance of training when providing a service to deliver complete, safe and quality repairs on modern vehicles.”

To achieve Insurer Gold Class, a minimum of 75 per cent of an insurance company’s assessing staff must have been awarded the Platinum Individual designation.

Hino Australia’s Bodyworx Programme Expands

Hino has found success in its Bodyworx programme, resulting in the company hosting a series of information seminars for truck body builders, component suppliers and engineering certifiers in what it believes to be a first for the Australian truck industry.

Hino launched the programme in early 2018 with the creation of an online portal containing technical and regulatory information to assist with the design and construction of truck and bus bodies on Hino chassis.

“Hino is at the forefront of the operational, safety and technology integration between the truck and the body, with body builders, component suppliers and certifiers now requiring a far greater understanding of the intricate workings of these systems than ever before,” said Daniel Petrovski, Manager of Product Strategy for Hino Australia.

“It is also essential that they understand the implications associated with fitting a body to a Hino chassis and that there can be differing impacts on the vehicle’s chassis from the various body types and the body mountings that can be chosen.

“We have a responsibility to actively share all the information that we can with the body builders and component suppliers who we consider our business partners.

“At Hino, our trucks are built under the guiding principles of Quality, Durability and Reliability, and by providing this next level of information to our body builders, we are equipping them with the knowledge about the Hino trucks they require to build and mount their bodies to the end customer’s vehicle.

“We know that a correctly integrated body provides our customers with superior operational outcomes, which is a positive for everyone.”

Over 200 body builders nationally were invited to attend the first round of the Hino Bodyworx seminars, which ran over two months in five capital cities.

“Hino Australia Applications Engineer Jeff Gibson has been instrumental in the creation of the Hino Bodyworx Portal and taking the Hino Bodyworx programme to the next level with the creation of these information seminars,” said Petrovski.

“Jeff was supported at the seminars by Hino Australia’s recently appointed Applications Engineer, Yousif Nassrat, who has brought a wealth of capability and new approach thanks to his previous work in the Authorised Vehicle Examiners (AVE) area of the industry.”

Information taught in these seminars includes body mounting guidelines, recommendations and specifications, CAD drawings, detail on technology systems employed in the various Hino models and how bodies need to be built to integrate with them.

“The Bodyworx seminars are a natural extension of the information already available on the Hino Bodyworx portal,” said Petrovski.

“They allow Hino direct contact with the body builders and component suppliers and provide context, and importantly enable us to answer specific questions that industry participants may have.

“Feedback from the seminar attendees has been very positive, and we believe it will ultimately lead to better outcomes and products for our customers.”

Pete Weatherby, President of the Licensed Certifiers Association (LCA), attended the first event in Sydney in May.

“The event was an excellent opportunity for AVEs and body builders to establish important business links with Hino and more so important with the growing applications of technologies,” said Weatherby.

“We recommend the Hino Bodyworx events to all of our LCA members, including our AVE counterparts interstate.”

The next round of the Hino Bodyworx seminars will occur in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Sherwin-Williams Announces Ultimate Hawaiian Adventure Competition Winner

Following on from the success of last year’s Ultimate Las Vegas competition, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes launched the “Ultimate Hawaiian Adventure” competition in April 2019. The competition was the first run by the team after the rebrand to Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes following Valspar’s acquisition by the company in 2017.

The competition called for entrants to answer questions which showcased the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes line of products. Each week a new question was released and provided entrants with a new opportunity to enter. The competition had a strong response, with dozens of entries each week.

After three months and hundreds of entries, Sherwin-Williams announced Charmaine Woodley from Woodley’s Car Workz as the winner.

The prize pack is valued at over $7000, which includes return flights to Hawaii for two, seven nights’ accommodation and $1000 spending money.

To keep up to date with Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes’ latest competitions and offers, visit their Facebook page.

CIECA Connex Conference Agenda Includes Crash Test At IIHS

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) has announced that its annual symposium this year will include viewing a crash test at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The CIECA’s 11th annual conference – CIECA Connex 2019 – will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia during 16-18 September. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear information about blockchain, cybersecurity, legislation regarding autonomous vehicles, calibration, technical sessions such as Swagger and GraphQL, and other topical industry issues.

Speakers include:

  • Darryl Amberson, LaMettry’s
  • Mark Allen, Audi
  • Greg Brown, NABC first responder programme
  • Jon Delgado, APU Solutions
  • Sheryl Driggers, Universal Collision
  • Dan Gluck, Enterprise Holdings
  • Sean Guthrie, Car Crafters Collision Centers
  • Kim Hazelbaker, IIHS
  • Bob Jacobs, Microsoft
  • Patrick McGuire
  • Michael Ortega & Chris Poulos, IAA
  • Bob Redding
  • John Shoemaker, BASF
  • Eric Shultz, ALLDATA

In addition, there will be a 25th anniversary celebration, a tour of the IIHS, networking opportunities among industry segments and a vehicle gifting by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) as part of its Recycled Rides programme. The full agenda can be found by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/editor_upload/File/2019%20CIECA%20Connex/2019-CIECA-Connex-Agenda-07-18.pdf.

“We encourage all industry stakeholders to attend CIECA Connex 2019,” said Steve Betley, chairman of CIECA. “This year, we are highlighting the technological changes ahead and how to best prepare. By having all stakeholders gather and work together, the goal is to help our industry be as efficient, profitable and successful as possible.”

Discounted room rates at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel will be available until 15 August and early-bird conference registration fees are being offered until 23 August.

All industry stakeholders (members, non-CIECA members, OEMs, shop owners, insurers, information providers, recyclers, property restoration providers, etc.) are invited.

During the event, attendees will:

  • Hear about current and future industry challenges and opportunities
  • Gain timely, relevant business and technical knowledge
  • Network with other members and industry colleagues
  • Take part in learning opportunities for all industry segments.

This year’s event sponsors include AkzoNobel, Allstate, Audatex-Solera, Axalta, Caliber Collision, Car-PartPro.com, CCC, comsearch, Enterprise, Hertz, IAA, LKQ, Mobile Tech RX, NuGen IT, Precision Body & Paint, SafeLite Solutions and URG.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.CIECAConnex.com.

Register for the IIHS tour and CIECA CONNEX Conference, and book a room by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/info.php?pnum=95bd34b6c447f0

IAG Acquires Majority Stake In Digital Car Subscription Platform

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) has acquired a majority stake in trading platform and digital car subscription service, Carbar.

Carbar was established in 2016 in Melbourne, expanded to Sydney in June 2019, and is Australia’s first car subscription platform. It caters to customers looking for alternative forms of vehicle ownership and now has plans to expand across Australia in 2020.

Carbar offers a car subscription starting at $109 per week which includes registration, insurance, roadside assistance and maintenance. IAG hopes to better understand the changing mobility trends while providing new sources of value to customers through Carbar.

Carbar plans to expand its vehicle subscription model while supporting the growth of its online car trading platform that removes the uncertainty often associated with buying a new or second-hand car.

“We are thrilled to partner with Carbar which will play a central role in our approach to the future of insurance and the changing mobility needs of our customers,” said James Orchard, IAG Executive General Manager of Innovation.

“Carbar has pioneered the car subscription model in Australia. We look forward to combining its world-class digital capabilities with IAG’s assets and scale to provide new mobility experiences for customers today and in the future.”

 “IAG’s support will be instrumental in growing and developing our business,” said Desmond Hang, Carbar CEO and co-founder. “We look forward to working closely with its team to further expand Carbar and grow our car subscription capabilities.”

Local ANCAP Audit Test Sees Ford Endura Offer Improved Safety

The 2019 Ford Endura has undertaken an independently verified ANCAP crash test, further cementing its existing five-star safety rating.

The Australian Ford Endura’s standard specification is higher than the European market Edge model that was previously tested, which is what prompted the ANCAP test with an independently purchased vehicle to ensure a genuine representation of a production model available to customers in Australia.

ANCAP has published an updated Technical Report for the 2019 Endura following the test, which has acknowledged an improved audit test score of 94 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection, an increase from 87 per cent.

“The Endura’s advanced safety features and Driver Assist Technology have been fitted as standard specifically for our market, because we know that Australians in this segment demand a high level of assurance, technology and safety when choosing a premium SUV,” said Kay Hart, Ford Australia and New Zealand CEO and President. “ANCAP plays an important role for consumers in understanding the safety levels offered in new vehicles, and we’re pleased that Endura has improved on this in an independently verified audit test by an agency with the highest level of credibility.”

Euro NCAP testing of a different specification model allowed the Endura to be rated as a five-star model when it launched in the latter half of 2018 in Australia. Due to the higher level of standard equipment for every model sold in Australia, ANCAP decided to reassess the vehicle in a further independent audit test.

“Audit testing is a routine and integral part of our test and assessment process, and it is done to provide consumers with assurance that they can rely on ANCAP safety rating information when buying a car,” said James Goodwin, ANCAP CEO.

The audit test is designed to assess the vehicle structure and effectiveness of the restraint system for both the front and rear seat occupants. The test was carried out at Crashlab in Sydney and a brand-new 2019 Ford Endura Trend was used in a full-width frontal crash test scenario.

The results verified the Euro NCAP assessment of five stars, but the additional local analysis caused ANCAP to acknowledge the improved audit test result in its Technical Report as a result of the significant improvement offered by the upgraded restraint system fitted across the entire Endura line-up.

“The Ford Endura was already a five-star rated vehicle when it launched, yet Ford Australia has improved the safety specification of Endura models supplied to our market through the inclusion of seatbelt pre-tensioners for rear [outboard] seats, which sees improved occupant protection for rear seat occupants,” Goodwin said. “The Endura is a vehicle designed and used to transport families, so it’s encouraging to see Ford Australia prioritise the safety of rear seat occupants for our market.”

Every model in the Ford Endura line-up offers, as standard:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Lane Keeping Aid with Lane Keep Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (with Auto Speed Limiter Device)
  • Evasive Steer Assist
  • Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
  • ‘AdvanceTrac’ with Roll Stability Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Seven airbags, including driver and front passenger, side-curtain, side-front and driver knee airbags
  • Seatbelt minder/monitors for all rows
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system with 8.0-inch full-colour touchscreen and voice-activated sat-nav
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Programmable MyKey

Ford also offers the Ford Service Benefits programme which, for the first four years/60,000km (whichever comes first), allows eligible customers to service their Endura for a maximum recommended price of $299 (including GST) per A or B logbook service at participating dealerships.