Employing equipment from an Israeli high-tech firm, Volvo Cars USA is planning to speed inspections of vehicles customers bring to their dealer for repair, service or trade-in.
Use of the automated vehicle-inspection systems is expected to improve customer satisfaction and business efficiencies, strengthening the Swedish automaker’s reputation for product quality and safety, according to Rick Bryant, Volvo Cars USA vice president-sales operations.
The high-speed, camera-based systems from UVeye rely on artificial-intelligence and machine-learning technologies to check tires, underbody components and vehicle exteriors for defects, missing parts and other safety-related issues. The systems already are in use at Volvo’s assembly plant to inspect vehicles coming off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden.
This automated vehicle-inspection process takes seconds to complete and is significantly faster than time-consuming manual inspections, Bryant says, giving retailers the ability to evaluate trade-ins quickly and cost-effectively, as well as check the condition of cars coming in for service.
“This is a home run for Volvo Cars and our retailers,” he adds. “UVeye’s automated systems will add a new level of credibility to the inspection process for us, for our retailers and for our customers.”
The Volvo program is being launched at select retailers in the Northeast, but the automaker ultimately hopes a majority of its more than 280 independent retail locations in the U.S. will install the new inspection systems.
Volvo takes pride in its longstanding reputation for safety, which can be enhanced further with the UVeye technology, executives note. The inspection systems are designed to spot safety issues ranging from damaged tires to defective underbody parts, potentially identifying more serious problems before they occur, preventing accidents.
The technology offers significant efficiency benefits to dealerships because it helps service technicians identify problems more quickly, expediting maintenance and repair work. The UVeye systems can create digital “vehicle health” reports with photos that can be shared with each customer, keeping them informed as to whether their vehicle is in good condition.
“An automated system can help resolve problems,” Bryant says. “It shows the vehicle’s actual condition. Customers will be able to see flaws such as a rusty tailpipe they didn’t know about. And they’ll also know the retailer is being upfront with them.”
UVeye and Volvo Cars have collaborated since 2019, when the automaker became a strategic investor in the company through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
The technology comes from the security industry, where it has been used to detect weapons and contraband, and in the auto business it is not exclusive to Volvo.
Since their introduction in 2021, the UVeye systems have been installed at nearly 100 U.S. dealerships. The number is expected to more than triple over the next 10 months, the company says.
Dealerships have a choice of four different UVeye tools, such as Atlas and Atlas Lite, which deliver 360-degree exterior scans of sheet metal and other exterior components for paint chips, dents and other issues. Atlas scanners are best suited for high-volume service facilities, fleet operations and assembly lines.
Atlas Lite is specially designed for dealership use. It is being shown for the first time publicly at NADA 2022 in Las Vegas this weekend.
UVeye also offers Artemis, the industry’s first tire-inspection system able to detect sidewall damage and tread depth, as well as tire air pressure, age and brand, and Helios, an underbody scanner able to spot a variety of potential safety issues, including fluid leaks and frame damage, as well as brake and exhaust system problems.
“Our new technology helps new- and used-car dealership service technicians quickly identify problems and expedite maintenance and repair work,” says UVeye CEO Amir Hever. The company’s scanning processes can be used throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle, he adds.
UVeye now operates in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region with offices in Israel, Japan, Germany and the U.S.
It has raised more than $90 million and formed strategic partnerships with dealership groups, used-car auctions and vehicle fleets since it was founded in 2016. In addition to Volvo, investors include Hyundai, Toyota Tsusho, W.R. Berkley, F.I.T. Ventures and CarMax, the largest used-car retailer in the U.S.