Car Manufacturer Use of the Word ‘Autonomous’ Dangerous: Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued an urgent call to car manufacturers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists. The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing while over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

The risks to drivers have been outlined in the new ‘Assisted and Automated Driving Definition and Assessment’ paper, which has identified dangerous grey areas associated with some driver support technologies. These include misleading names, like Autopilot and ProPilot, given to systems by car manufacturers, how and when drivers should take back control of their vehicles and systems which are designed to work in specific situations only (e.g. on motorways) but can also function anywhere.

Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research said, “We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own. Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances. Fully Automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.”

Avery continues, “It begins with how systems are named and described across car manufacturer marketing materials and the driver’s handbook. Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can. Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said, “Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”

UAE Cabinet Approves New Long-Term Visa For International Investors

The UAE Cabinet, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted a new system of entry visas for investors and professional talents providing them with a long-term visa for up to 10 years.

“The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents in the UAE,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

The new visa system will increase the chances of attracting investors and competencies to the UAE and thus increase the country’s economic competitiveness globally. The global investors’ ownership is expected to reach 100 per cent by the end of the year. The system will grant investors and talents up to 10-year residency visas for specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators.

Symach Installs FixStation Equipment At Mervyn’s The Body Shop In Canada

Symach announced the installation of its FixLine system at Mervyn’s The Body Shop in Kelowna, British Columbia.

The FixLine system consists of a layout and repair process that combines Symach’s patented Drytronic technology, specialized robots and the Symach Paint Application Process (SPAP) painting cycle.

“The FixStation is a modern and innovative solution that will ensure high productivity for Mervyn’s The Body Shop,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, CEO of Symach. “The hybrid solution works as a spray booth and a workstation in one area and will allow one of Mervyn’s technicians to perform three to four repairs a day without moving the vehicle.”

Established more than 40 years ago in the Okanagan area of British Columbia, Mervyn’s prides itself on providing the highest quality repair and customer satisfaction.

“It’s all about staying on top and being the best we can be for us and for the customer,” said Jason Agostino, owner of Mervyn’s. “Symach’s equipment is helping us fulfill that.”

Mervyn’s The Body Shop is a very old Kelowna company purchased by Peter Facinek in the early 2000s. Agostino came on board as the body shop manager soon after and became co-owner of the business. Since then, he has run the shop on a day-to-day basis with Facinek as a consultant and silent partner. Agostino’s wife, Rosy, also helps in the business.

The owners always planned to open a new location and over the last several years, they have been working on the design.

During this time, they found out about Symach equipment from attending an AkzoNobel Acoat Selected performance group meeting.

“We are continually investigating newer and better ways to repair and finish damaged vehicles to ensure that customers are 100 per cent satisfied,” he said. “We learned that Symach builds exactly what we were look for,” said Agostino.

Facinek first went to Ontario to visit another collision repair facility using the equipment and then traveled to Italy to see Symach’s operation first-hand. Following that trip, Mervyn’s decided to purchase Symach’s FixLine system, two Fly dry robots and one easy dry robot in addition to five lifts.

“We already had the layout designed for the new location,” said Agostino. “Symach modified it to fit the equipment and we decided to buy the whole package rather than try to piecemeal everything together.”

It was installed in November 2017 and Symach trained all of the technicians. It has been operational since February.

“We’ve always used team systems and run a processed-centered environment using other tools, so it was a smooth transition for us to use Symach’s quality equipment,” said Agostino.

The baking equipment uses a slightly different application, but he has found that it has been working out well.

Although they are still in their infancy stages using Symach’s equipment, they have found it has already helped with cycle time in the shop. “What used to take us one and a half hours, now takes 20 minutes,” said Agostino. “You don’t have to wait for dry times. They told us that, but you never really believe it until you see it.”

Since installing the equipment, Agostino said it has helped the shop stay cleaner and it’s a nicer environment for his 13 employees to work, many of whom have worked there long-term. By installing the lifts, it has also been easier on the body technicians. Overall, he said has been impressed with the dependability and predictability of the equipment. “When I’m painting a vehicle, I know it will be ready at a certain time,” he said.

Mervyns offers a lifetime written guarantee on all of the work completed. “An important component of this is ensuring our paint booths and spraying equipment are state-of-the-art,” said Agostino. “We are committed to leading the collision repair industry in technical skills, equipment and quality of work and Symach equipment is helping us do that.”

Axalta Inaugurates New Coating Manufacturing Facility in India

Axalta inaugurated its new coating manufacturing plant at Savli, Vadodara in Gujarat, India. Approximately 70 guests, including local government officials, customers, university representatives, media, and employees attended the opening ceremony, which Axalta Chairman and CEO Charlie Shaver presided.

The 5,200 square meter plant is part of Axalta’s Savli manufacturing site that produces Axalta coatings for refinish, automotive parts, and commercial vehicle customers. The new plant will double Axalta’s coating manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for coatings in light vehicles, commercial vehicles, and industrial segments.

Since 2016, Axalta has opened a new and expanded Technology Centre in Savli dedicated to the Indian automotive segment. Its new Axalta India headquarters in Gurugram, within the National Capital Region, also hosts Axalta’s global IT and other back office functions. Axalta has continued to further invest and upgrade its refinish training centres throughout India to better serve customers in the growing market.

“These facilities and the significant investments made in the past couple of years are in sync with Axalta’s strong commitment to India to deliver innovative and comprehensive coating solutions to our customers in every sector of the automotive market and in other industry sectors. I am confident that Axalta’s global expertise in coatings will play a significant role in India, catering to our customers’ specific coatings requirements,” said Shaver.

Taking advantage of the booming automotive market, Axalta Savli’s new plant will be able to expand production capacity of both high and low temperature cured coatings. The facility is also designed to scale up to produce waterborne coatings for customers’ conversion to more sustainable solutions. The new plant employs environmentally responsible processes and is designed for low emissions. This helps to ensure a healthy environment for the community and a sustainable future for Axalta.

Allianz’s Graham Gibson Appointed As Chairman Of Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research, the independent voice of automotive safety and repair, has appointed Allianz’s Graham Gibson as the new Chairman of its Board.

As chief claims officer at Allianz Insurance Gibson is an industry advocate with extensive experience in a range of market initiatives across claims and personal injury. He also serves on a variety of insurer related groups, including Board Member for the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

“I am excited to have been given this opportunity to work closely with Thatcham Research. Their passion and commitment to improving automotive safety and security demonstrates a dedication to both the insurance industry and vehicle manufacturers”. Said Gibson.

“I have seen first-hand the hard work and innovative research carried out by Thatcham Research having been an active member of its board since 2012. I look forward to working with members of the team and producing some exciting research.”

Gibson replaces current Chairman Ian Currie, who is retiring from his role as UK Motor and Injury Claims Director at RSA, after two-and-a-half years at the helm.

The Thatcham Research Board is drawn from its 24-member insurers, who fund the essential research on vehicle safety, security, personal injury and accident damage repair. As well as crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

Car-O-Liner Distributor Opens New Training Centre In KSA

Together with its new partner, Al Rajhi Takaful Insurance (ART), the largest motor vehicle insurance company in the Middle East, the AKA group team opened their new Training Academy on February 24th, 2018.

More than 60 guests attended the opening ceremony, including a large group of ART management and representatives.

Matthias Mueller, General Manager of AKA group operations, welcomed guests and outlined a brief summary of the strategies of both companies, in terms of training. The training centre has one section for training in body repair technique. It is fully equipped with a Car-O-Liner BenchRack 6300 and the Car-O-Tronic Vision2 X3 measuring system. For diagnosis and light repair there is the Speed alignment platform with and the PointX diagnostic measuring instrument.

The centre also includes a section for paint and preparation training, equipped with spray booths, preparation lifts and dry sanding systems. Two lecture rooms will be used for theoretical training classes. The opening day for the public and all customers will be on March 12th, 2018.