‘A million breakdowns a year’

One million AA members could be prevented from breaking down each year following the launch of a new connected car device – Car Genie.

The small device can be self-fitted into the car’s diagnostic socket, providing solutions to three key drivers wishes: not losing their car, not breaking down, getting immediate help following an accident.

The system, available only to Members of the AA, provides information on the vehicle’s whereabouts and visualises driving style such as braking, cornering and acceleration to help drivers improve their fuel economy and save money.

It also monitors vehicle health such as battery condition, electrics, ignition, fuel systems and more. A push notification alerts the user to potential problems. The AA then contacts the member with advice or to arrange an appointment to fix the problem, helping drivers to avoid the hassle, stress and potential hazards of a breakdown.

In the case of a collision, the technology detects the impact and triggers a call from the AA to offer help.

Alan Ferguson, head of AA connected car technology, said, ‘Around a third of breakdowns we go to could have been stopped if the problem was spotted earlier – equating to a million breakdowns every year. Anything can happen and not everyone can know the warning signs, so we’ve developed Car Genie to give our members the assurance that the AA is with them wherever they go.

‘This clever device helps members to proactively avoid a breakdown by alerting them to problems which would otherwise show up too late. It can also help avoid possibly costly repairs and the hassle of being without a car.’

The small self-install device plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostics (OBDII) socket and presents real-time information via a smartphone app, to help drivers understand what is going on under the bonnet.

Ferguson added, ‘Preventing an avoidable breakdown and the hassle that comes with it enhances customer experience for our members and will revolutionise the way breakdowns are managed. Monitoring the health of our members’ cars and arming them with the information they need to understand and address the problem, not only saves them time and money but helps make sure they keep on rolling.’