IBM Offers Advanced Diagnostics Analysis Services to Automotive Industry

On Demand Service Assists in Transforming Warranty Processes

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DETROIT, MI - 12 Apr 2005: IBM today unveiled a new service that allows automakers and fleet owners to collect and analyze large quantities of vehicle diagnostics data so they can more readily detect trends and better manage warranty coverage.

Studies show that more than one-third of auto breakdowns are related to electrical or electronics systems. Failures are expected to rise even higher as vehicles become increasingly complex; it is predicted that, by 2010, 90 percent of innovation in cars will be from embedded electronics systems. This is making warranty management both a major expense and customer satisfaction issue for automakers and fleet owners.

In response, IBM has created what it calls the "Parametric Analysis Center" for automotive service, making available patented IBM data-management, mining, and analysis technologies to deliver valuable insight into vehicle operation by analyzing collections of data from in-car electronic components. This data can be used to address problems emerging in the field or be leveraged in the research and design phases for new automobiles.

The new offering is based on technologies developed by IBM Research and is now available through IBM Business Consulting Services to aid in diagnosis of electronics based problems. The Parametric Analysis Center service will be unveiled at this week's Society for Automotive Engineers Conference in Detroit.

"Today much of the data that we capture at the repair shop to diagnose problems with a particular vehicle are lost once the vehicle is repaired," said IBM researcher Nathaniel Mills, who invented the technology. "With an approach like this, data can be preserved and used to develop automated analysis routines to help all mechanics correctly diagnose the same type of problem as well as to provide an early warning system to identify major issues affecting many vehicles."

The new Parametric Analysis Center service allows original equipment manufacturers to deliver parametric and diagnostic data to IBM who will then analyze the data using advanced algorithms to create recommendations and reports addressing specific vehicle or fleet wide issues. IBM also can offer ongoing consultative analytical services as well as hosting services support.

The collection and analysis of vehicle diagnostic data, allows all groups participating in the vehicle lifecycle management to develop reports and services to understand how a single vehicle is performing or determine whether a trend is developing across a group of vehicles that needs attention. Currently, information is gathered in various forms and not put into a central repository for further analysis.

For example, analysis performed early during the research and design phases can later be used to confirm test fleet performance, or to aid service bay technicians with the diagnosis of the root causes for failures. This vehicle history data can be used to assess degrading health of the vehicle or to see if problems found in one vehicle are exhibited by others being used in similar contexts.

The IBM Research team tested this First-of-a-Kind technology with the help of the US Army's National Automotive Center. IBM's First-of-a-Kind program brings IBM research scientists and customers together to apply innovative technologies to solve real-world challenges. The US Army is currently evaluating the technology for potential application to its fleet of vehicles.

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