Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.


She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 19:39

Techs of the Future: The Importance of Having a Broad Understanding of Vehicle Technology

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Up until recently, it was common practice for technicians to plug in a dongle to the OBDII---onboard diagnostics---port to diagnose a vehicle.

As modern cars have become increasingly computerized with sophisticated electronics, that is no longer the case, according to Scott McCormick, president of the Connective Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA.)


“Take a Chevy Volt, for example, that can change or update its electronics over time,” said McCormick. “That might sound great if you want to upgrade the electronics in two years, but you have to realize that the car is a system and changing one piece of software in it can create issues.”


If technicians aren’t familiar with the potential problems that could affect the vehicle, McCormick said, they will most likely not be able to repair it properly. As a result, it is becoming essential they have a fundamental and broad understanding of the issues at hand and the necessary skills to address them when a customer comes in experiencing difficulties.


"In the past, technicians, for the most part, had a familiarity with how cars are built,” he said. “That will become increasingly important as more electronics are being added to vehicles.”


Auto manufacturers are producing cars with more than 100 million lines of code. In comparison, McCormick said a Boeing Dreamliner has 4 million lines of code.


“Every level of automation we go up is going to add between one and 200 million lines of code,” he explained. “It’s not like Microsoft Office; it’s not one package.”


Instead, there are disparate packages running simultaneously.


“We’re now dealing with systems that were once standalone objects---a device or computer board---something that went into the car,” said McCormick. “It’s coming to the point where all of these devices are working cooperatively.”

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