Self-Driving cars are getting a lot of press, whether it’s Google cars roaming the streets, GM’s purchase of Cruise Automation, or Uber’s plan to put a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions to work carrying passengers around Pittsburgh. How will this shift to self-driving vehicles affect parts management for fleets when their use becomes widespread?
What makes a self-driving car or truck different from a regular vehicle? To make a car self-driving, a system is added that uses a series of sensors to make judgments about driving conditions and react accordingly. A lot of the interface is already in the modern vehicle with systems like throttle-by-wire, adaptive cruise control and the steer-by-wire system recently introduced in some Infinitis. In other words, from a purely functional perspective, this just adds another small set of electronics to today’s electronically complicated systems.
In practice, there should be a major difference in how and when parts fail. Replacing human drivers with electronics means a consistent driving style across the fleet, and that should lead to fairly consistent wear patterns. Parts like brake pads and suspension components may wear with such consistency that they can be put on a maintenance schedule just like oil and filter changes.
Do you know what size or type of air filter or brake pads are on your car? Unless you just had them replaced, there’s a good chance you don’t know whether you have cylindrical or flat paper air filters or semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads or what size you need.
If you were to start shopping for either right now, you’d probably walk out to your vehicle, take apart the air box or take a wheel off to find out, and type the information into your smartphone. A recent study by Google shows a massive increase in tire-related searches using mobile devices. Like air filter and brake pad searches, it’s just one facet of a growing trend toward mobile aftermarket parts sales.
Unlike other forms of advertising like TV and mass mailing, online advertising effectiveness can be measured with extreme accuracy, down to each individual click. Google’s latest report on Adwords advertising shows a major shift toward mobile access when it comes to finding aftermarket parts. As the single largest starting place for car part searches on the Internet, these results are nothing to sneeze at.
When SOMS Technologies wanted to create an online catalog for its line of microGreen Extended Performance Filters, its team turned to Vertical Development for help. Using the API from our ShowMeTheParts (SMTP) database, together we created a searchable catalog that integrates seamlessly into microGreenFilter.com.
microGreen filters are designed to help fleet managers and consumers reduce maintenance costs by providing higher filtration performance in a package that’s a drop-in replacement for conventional filters. This extends oil life, decreasing oil change intervals for material and labor costs over an engine’s life. microGreen filters are designed for a wide range of equipment from small engines to larger gas and diesel engines.
To help make the transition from conventional to microGreen filters as simple as possible, SOMS Technologies worked with us to develop a catalog based around the ShowMeTheParts database. This catalog allows customers to find compatible microGreen filters using either vehicle information or parts numbers. Using our APIs, SOMS Technologies was able to seamlessly integrate the catalog into their own website, giving customers access to parts information from computers and mobile devices.
ShowMeTheParts Software Powers New Valvoline™ Mobile App
ShowMeTheParts (a division of Vertical Development, Inc.) recently completed a collaboration with Valvoline to power its new filters and wipers website and mobile app. The website, available at valvolinefilters.com and valvolinewipers.com, provides an updated buyers guide and electronic searchable catalog where visitors can query to find the Valvoline parts they need. The new Valvoline mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
“Valvoline is excited to announce this new website along with the addition of a new mobile app — all powered by ShowMeTheParts part look-up software. The mobile app includes VIN look-up and VIN barcode scanning capability. These new tools will improve our customer’s access to valuable information,” said Tim Latham, Valvoline Global Product Manager.