UVeye is providing fleet operators in the U.S. with a fast, accurate way to detect costly vehicle problems that often are missed by drivers and service technicians.High-speed inspection systems can reduce repair costs and keep fleet vehicles on the road, while helping to eliminate potential accidents, avoid costly downtime and improve overall vehicle safety.
UVeye’s vehicle scans use artificial intelligence, sensor fusion and high-tech camera systems to spot within seconds a wide range of issues ranging from worn tires to missing or defective underbody parts. The company’s high-speed systems are much faster and more accurate than traditional service-lane inspections and help fleet operators correct problems before they can lead to much more costly repairs and downtime.
“We are helping our fleet customers solve major problems caused by faulty vehicle- inspection processes,” says Mike Bush, UVeye’s director of North American fleet sales. “Today, manual inspections are not always done, and when they are done, they often are not done thoroughly.” He points out that UVeye inspections are fast, accurate and standardized. They boost uptime and spot issues before they become major problems that can ground a vehicle or take it out of commission for major repairs. They also contribute to overall driver and vehicle safety.
“Detecting a problem early on can mean the difference between replacing a gasket and dealing with a blown engine,” Bush explains. “Catching a tire problem before it can cause a high-speed accident will save money and potentially save lives as well. About 11,000 tire-related accidents take place a year involving 600 fatalities in the U.S. alone, according to NHTSA.
A recent survey of UVeye customers showed that automated inspections can identify 96 percent of existing vehicle defects compared to just 24 percent for manual inspections, according to Bush. “That 96 percent identification rate catches a lot of attention from prospective customers,” he notes. “But that’s the rate you get when you have consistency and automation.
“The early detection of problems can cut maintenance and repair costs by 90 percent or more, help avoid costly roadside breakdowns and reduce insurance premiums. It also reduces exposure to costly lawsuits resulting from accidents caused by undetected defects such as a tire bulge.”
UVeye offers three high-speed vehicle-inspection systems that are suited for a variety of fleets, including so-called “final-mile” delivery vans and trucks, as well as private, police, medical, rental, public transit, food delivery, school bus, taxi and municipal fleets. The rapid drive-through systems include:
- Helios – An underbody scanner that detects a wide variety of problems including frame damage, missing parts and fluid leaks, as well as brake and exhaust-system issues.
- Artemis – A system that checks tire quality. Within seconds it identifies tire brand, technical specifications, air pressure, tread depth, sidewall damage and whether or not a vehicle’s tires are mismatched.
- Atlas – A 360-degree detection system that checks sheet metal and other external body components such as bumpers, door locks, grilles and windows.
Today’s fleet operators deal with a wide variety of challenges including an extremely high COVID-related demand for delivery services, a shortage of trained technicians, a lack of replacement parts, additional vehicle downtime and higher insurance costs. “UVeye systems ensure that accurate and recorded inspections are done quickly and on time,” Bush points out. “That’s not always the case if a fleet operator relies on manual inspections. Manual checks are often ‘pencil whip’ operations that are subjective, incomplete, time-consuming and subject to error.”
Helios, Artemis and Atlas systems each create condition reports that detail inspection results. They are set up to accommodate a variety of vehicle sizes, from trucks to cars. Some fleet operators use all three products, while others focus on UVeye’s tire and underbody system.
The company’s inspection systems also are in use in auto dealership service departments and on assembly lines at automakers such as Volvo and Toyota. One dealership using UVeye’s tire and underbody scans reports a potential monthly net profit of more than $46,000 for additional tire replacements, wheel alignments and underbody work.
Ideally, fleet inspections are done on a daily basis as vehicles return from their rounds. UVeye also is looking into installing its equipment at highway truck stops and toll centers for scanning on a per-pay basis. “Our automated scans are done almost instantaneously,” notes UVeye Chief Marketing Officer Yaron Saghiv. “It saves cost-conscious fleet operators a whole lot of time since vehicles can be driven through an inspection in seconds.
“In contrast, old-school manual inspections can take 20 minutes or more. There is a massive difference between automated and manual inspections. We are pioneering a new approach and finding that people definitely want an objective automated inspection process. The demand is there.” James Smith, a UVeye customer and the owner of V.I.P. Auctions in Cummings, Georgia, near Atlanta, agrees. V.I.P. Auctions currently uses the UVeye Artemis tire scanner and the Helios underbody-inspection system.
“We’ll soon be getting the 360-degree Atlas vehicle-body scanner as well,” Smith says. A 40-year auto-industry veteran, he adds that “At V.I.P. we’re excited about the technology.” V.I.P. performs UVeye inspections when vehicles are registered for either its in-house or online auctions. “We were doing it manually, but the UVeye scans pick up more,” Smith explains. “The undercarriage scan can find leaks that you wouldn’t see unless they were major. We’ve also had it detect missing catalytic converters. The tire scanner quickly catches problems such as rim curb scrapes, tire age and side bulges that can cause a blowout. It also picks up tread depth, tire make and mismatched tires. It sees so much more than you would ordinarily notice. Information garnered from the scans is included in condition reports that are more accurate than ones done manually. It really has transformed our condition reports.”
Smith makes it a point to tell auction participants that UVeye’s automated inspection systems are behind V.I.P.’s detailed reports. The automated inspections create both credibility and transparency, he notes, adding that they also reduce man hours devoted to inspections.
UVeye’s Bush concludes by saying that the company’s inspection processes are game changers. “For us, it is just a matter of getting the word out and explaining the benefits. After we’ve done that, we think there will be a domino effect among prospective fleet customers. Fleet operators are a tight group. Word will spread.” Citing the three main benefits of automated inspections — safety, keeping vehicles roadworthy and saving money — Bush believes the fleet sector will one day look back and say, “How did we live without this.”