During a recent VeriFacts Guild 21 webinar, industry veteran James Spears talked about the future of the collision repair industry.
Spears, an insurance and automotive consultant and founder of Spears Consultant Group, talked about the largest autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and the OEMs’ involvement in First Notice of Loss (FNOL) reporting.
Throughout his 30-year career, Spears has assisted the top ten property and casualty providers across the country. His experience includes leading the USAA Auto Experience and the USAA Global Auto Physical Damage operations and strategy. Prior to that, he headed the Strategic Initiatives team at Farmers Insurance and worked for Nationwide Insurance. Currently, he assists the American Center for Mobility as well as a number of other clients and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF).
The following is a summary of Spears’ comments during the webinar, which was facilitated by professional speaker and consultant George Avery.
Avery: As an advisor and consultant for the American Center for Mobility, can you tell us about the organization?
Spears: The American Center for Mobility (ACM) was established about 18 months ago. It is the largest and most sophisticated autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country. Located near the Detroit airport, the center is built on more than 500 acres at the Willow Run site in Southeast Michigan. This is where bombers were built for WWII. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been put into building the tremendous facility. Supporters include the State of Michigan, the University of Michigan, Michigan Department of Transportation, Subaru, Hyundai, Ford, Toyota, Intertek and Microsoft.
The mission of the organization is to enable the rapid, safe development and deployment of future transportation systems by offering leading programs in testing, standards, and education as a national technology innovation center.
The facility focuses on testing vehicles with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS). You might be surprised to hear that these technologies perform differently on models. They do not all stop the same or act the same.