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Old 17th September 2007, 11:22   #1
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Default A Vehicle Configuration Information System

We all love our cars dearly and cant bear the pain of even being separated from her during her routine service periods.
During this period when she is away, we dread some things .
i. What if the friendly service station fellows remove some parts and replace it with some spurious ones? How will i even know
ii. What if they replace my tires with some one elses?

iii. What if they dent /scratch my car

So, i was thinking , how wonderful t would be , if my car has a screen that tells me if anything has been changed in the car.
I envision that all components of the car be RFID tagged and a reader keeps inventory of all the parts in the car. The screen will show me an inventory of components in the car at the push of a button.
I can baseline/save that list.
When i take delivery after service, I will look at the screen and find out if there is a change in configuration of the car. It will show me with say red/green colouring whenever it detects a part number to be different from the one that was there earlier(that is different from the ones in the list i saved).
If the service invoice says that such a part has been replaced, i can accept the new part or question the service advisor as to why the part has been changed and grill him on why you the owner has not been informed about the change.
I know this sounds futuristic. But, i think it is possible with the technology available today!
What say you folks?
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Old 17th September 2007, 11:57   #2
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Ok! Lets see... You are an IT Pro? And let me stick my neck out and ask, by any chance you work in Retail or Manufacturing kind of domain?

Well, the idea you are suggesting definitely sounds good but has some practical problems. RFID tagged means
* tag can be removed and put on a different part easily.
* a reader needs to be taken to each tag to read it. How will that happen? A reader can not move around on its own all over the engine bay (that is, even if we limit it to just the engine bay). Someone needs to move it physically. to reach every nook and cranny. Thats difficult.

On the other hand if every part is wired to a central inventory system and has a small chip which can send back its part no. then it may be possible. Even that is too radical an idea I would say... but definitely an out of the box thinking I would say.
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Old 17th September 2007, 16:04   #3
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Ok! Lets see... You are an IT Pro? And let me stick my neck out and ask, by any chance you work in Retail or Manufacturing kind of domain

Guilty as Charged on both counts.

The thing about RFID readers . We wont have to move anything anywhere. If the car is fixed with one, then it should be able to pretty much read everything within a region (of course we always risk the reader picking up stuff from similarly equipped neighbouring cars). BUt notwithstanding that, the RFID tags will need to be etched into the parts in a manner it cannot be removed.

The chip idea will definitely work, but i guess the costs would higher and RFIDs are at least in theory supposed to cost as much as dirt. So, it would be interesting to see if there are people who have done RFID stuff to think this through
I'm dreading the first service for my SX4!! and hence these crazy thoughts
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Old 17th September 2007, 16:11   #4
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- manufactures can definately take care of tag removal issue
- Active RFID tag emit information & dont need the reader to be scanned over them. though they are expensive than the passive tags.

Venkat this is definately possible today only thing is the cost - mainly rfid reader cost & screen to be installed on the car.
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Old 17th September 2007, 21:36   #5
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The whole world is hoping to come to the status you are dreaming of. India is in the infancy stages of RFID but very much aware of it and trying hard to 'make it happen'.
It will have to be the big corporations that bring about this change - our govt will surely not be the one to facilitate it.
Cost is always a matter 'of scale'. Once the application crosses a 'threshold' value costs will diminish dramatically.
A small example, though a very significant one, is that of Maruti Udyog's initiative to install iCATs across the board in all its cars. This was done simply to bring down the cost to 'affordable' levels. I'm told that the iCATs thing works on RFID.
The main application for RFID will be large manufacturing units, retail houses, etc. so that they can control their inventories.
The spin-offs will be highly beneficial for us consumers in having just such a system as you are dreaming about.
Meanwhile.... try to be with your baby while she is being 'serviced'! Don't get fooled by that sorry ploy of "Sorry Sir, we do not allow customers beyond this point". Insist that you want to clearly SEE what is being done to your car. Failing which, find another SC that will allow you that 'right'.
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Old 18th September 2007, 01:56   #6
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Till something art fancy like that happens, its just better to befriend your service manager and its people and keep looking at your vehicle with a vision that will put any self respecting hawk to shame.
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Old 18th September 2007, 13:04   #7
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Default Well said @doctorkats

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorkats View Post
Till something art fancy like that happens, its just better to befriend your service manager and its people and keep looking at your vehicle with a vision that will put any self respecting hawk to shame.
I guess for now the best thing to do is to befriend the service advisor and get to be present when the car is being serviced.
But, given the volumes Maruti deals with, i guess i will have to wait forever at service stations. Or insist that i be called in when she is about to be serviced.
Hmm.. let me try..
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Old 19th September 2007, 12:20   #8
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In Delhi there are now quite a few Maruti ASCs that will allow you to see your car while it is being seviced. Perhaps it's the competition amongst the many Maruti ASCs that has done it, but it is possible today. And once you go with a prior appointment you do not have to wait for hours for your turn.
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Old 20th September 2007, 11:23   #9
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I guess interconnection of all components is possible using a serial bus like CAN or I2C. This is more flexible than the passive RFID scanning (like, I can even ask the device to do a self check or something and monitor it in realtime!), but surely the cost factor would make this highly unsuitable!
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Old 20th September 2007, 13:11   #10
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hey!! quite an interesting thread. i've had similar share of worries too
meanwhile, i have an idea on papers,...atleast holds good for the engine bay.

- spray the engine bay with a non-washable, transparent liquid, that can cling as a thin film and that is capable of emitting infra-red rays
- the spray must be done all over the engine bay in all dimensions on a as-is-where-is basis.
- shoot the engine bay in all possible perspectives with an infra-red cam (even few mobiles these days have this feature, yeah?)
- this gives your current engine bay template
- to recheck after a service station visit,... just shoot again in that perspective and the part that has been changed will not have the infra-red coating on it and will not glow like the other area around it

this idea does not prevent theft, but let you know if anything has been thieved

hahahhaha,....
i can almost feel many of you laugh at it too.

but wait. it is possible. let me find some time and do more homework on this. adds to my list of DIYs.

Last edited by gbpscars : 20th September 2007 at 13:14.
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Old 20th September 2007, 13:47   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpscars View Post
hahahhaha,....
i can almost feel many of you laugh at it too.
Welcome gbpscars. Nobody would laugh at such ideas. They are all feasible/plausible. Cost is a matter of scale.
Do come up with some more!
We all share this worry of ASCs ripping us in various ways. No harm brain-storming to see if there is a convenient/practical way out.

Last edited by anupmathur : 20th September 2007 at 13:49.
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Old 20th September 2007, 13:52   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpscars View Post
hey!! quite an interesting thread. i've had similar share of worries too
meanwhile, i have an idea on papers,...atleast holds good for the engine bay.

- spray the engine bay with a non-washable, transparent liquid, that can cling as a thin film and that is capable of emitting infra-red rays
- the spray must be done all over the engine bay in all dimensions on a as-is-where-is basis.
- shoot the engine bay in all possible perspectives with an infra-red cam (even few mobiles these days have this feature, yeah?)
- this gives your current engine bay template
- to recheck after a service station visit,... just shoot again in that perspective and the part that has been changed will not have the infra-red coating on it and will not glow like the other area around it

this idea does not prevent theft, but let you know if anything has been thieved

hahahhaha,....
i can almost feel many of you laugh at it too.

but wait. it is possible. let me find some time and do more homework on this. adds to my list of DIYs.
Hey thats another wonderful thought. Keep that idea flowing and i guess crazy vision provokes crazier ideas and perhaps someone will strike gold!.
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