RAC van

RAC technology lets cars ‘talk’ to drivers before they break down

Motorists will know their car has a problem before it breaks down thanks to RAC technology that lets people “talk” to vehicles.

The British firm’s device can spot issues with parts such as filters and fuel injectors before they fail, saving car owners time, inconvenience and money.

The black box device can be fitted to almost any vehicle and sends real-time information via the mobile network to the motorist or fleet manager.


Using Microsoft’s Azure cloud service and analytics, patterns and trends can be spotted in the data.

“Thanks to the technology, we have the capability to look inside someone’s vehicle and tell them proactively that they need help,” Nick Walker, RAC’s managing director, told Computer Weekly at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event.

“The vehicle will continue to drive, but we know for example if there is an injector fault. Ultimately, it may cause damage to the engine, so intercepting this fault is a really valuable piece of information… we can intercept this fault and prevent further damage and cost.

“We know where you are, we know what’s going on with the vehicle and we know you need help.”

Nebula Systems, part of the RAC, is now launching its diagnostic system – MECH5.com – to garages across the world, which can use the telematics data to see in real-time when cars need servicing or repair.

MECH5 used Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and removes the need for expensive computers and updates, making it accessible to all mechanics and car dealers.

It is also hoped that garages using this system will soon be able to alert drivers via a smartphone app about a fault with their vehicle and how it could be fixed.

“We’re … making this technology available to everybody from the small independent garage, up to nationwide dealerships,” said Andrew Steer, chief executive of Nebula. “Technicians can work from any device, even a smartphone if they really want to.”