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General Motors investment could bring instant inspection stations to dealerships

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GM
s Co. dealers will have the ability to install automated drive-thru inspection stations under a deal announced Wednesday between the automaker and Israeli technology company UVeye.

Under the agreement, GM’s capital investment arm, GM Ventures, invested in UVeye to help fund the development and commercialization of its inspection technology. At the same time, the automaker itself entered into an agreement with UVeye to study the installation of inspection systems in its 4,000 dealerships.

Several GM dealerships are already using the systems, Dave Marsh, GM’s general manager, customer service and satisfaction, said during a briefing in Birmingham, Michigan. Although the automaker is “facilitating” the placement of inspection stations, it will not subsidize installation costs or monthly service subscription fees, he said.

“GM becomes the fourth OEM to invest in the company,” added UVeye CEO and co-founder Amir Hever. “We are delighted to have GM as a partner. We share the same vision regarding the customer and consumer experience in dealerships.

UVeye inspection stations use artificial intelligence, machine learning and high-definition camera technologies to quickly scan a vehicle, check tires, underbody components, vehicle exterior defects and missing parts . The car or truck simply passes through the inspection station without stopping.

GM’s Dave Marsh likened the process to a “quick triage”.

Three UVeye inspection stations will be available to dealers:

  • Atlas – 360 Degree Exterior Inspection System scans sheet metal and other exterior components for paint chips, dents and other issues. While UVeye advises that Atlas scanners are best suited for high volume service facilities, fleet operations and assembly lines, Atlas Lite is specifically designed for dealership use.
  • Artemis – Detects sidewall damage and tread depth, as well as tire air pressure, age and brand.
  • Helios – An underbody scanner capable of detecting a wide variety of potential safety issues, including fluid leaks and chassis damage, as well as brake and exhaust system issues.

The Carl Black Automotive Group, with two GM showrooms in Atlanta, Georgia, and one in Nashville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida, already uses UVeye stations.

Marketing manager Alex Bowsher told Forbes.com that both new and used vehicles are inspected and the process makes a real difference in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“It automates the process for our service advisors, makes it faster for the customer, makes it more transparent for the customer, making it almost like a medical report so you’re not fighting the customer anymore, you show them the issues , that’s why you need to fix it,” Bowsher said.

This kind of efficiency has become more important with the shortage of qualified service technicians in the industry, Marsh pointed out, giving dealers the ability to better allocate a scarce resource, noting, “If you can identify vehicles that potentially require further inspection, you can put your techs on it right now because bandwidth is terribly limited in dealerships right now.

Quick inspections are also useful for detecting any damage vehicles may have suffered during transit from the assembly plant to the showroom as well as getting under the skin of trade-ins, giving dealers additional leverage during negotiating compensation with customers.

The agreement with GM represents a further expansion of UVeye’s automotive business. Based in Tel Aviv, the company has 130 employees and additional offices in the United States, Germany and Japan. It has attracted over $100 million in investment from companies such as Hyundai, VolvoCars, CarMax
KMX
Toyota Tsusho, FIT Ventures.

GM’s Dave Marsh did not disclose the value of his investment in UVeye, but announced the automaker’s adoption of the technology as a major milestone, saying, “We’re at the very beginning of a journey, but I tell you it’s going to be one of those things by the time we’re done I think we’re going to mark this day they’re going to say they’ve started to change the way customers are treated on the service line.

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