Car Repair 4.0

The Car Repair 4.0 project (called Autowerkstatt 4.0 in German) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the funding competition “Innovative and practical applications and data spaces in the Gaia-X digital ecosystem”. The project started on 1 January 2022 and is scheduled to run for three years.

Its goal is to be able to securely and trustfully exchange industry-specific data and AI models for vehicle maintenance and servicing on a Germany-wide platform with Gaia-X connectivity. This data space should make it possible to trade data, algorithms and services across car repair shops in order to advance the digitalisation of the car repair shop sector, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to link car repair shops, measurement system providers and IT service providers into an innovation and value creation network.

With AI for more differentiated vehicle fault diagnosis

As a concrete application, the project simplifies targeted troubleshooting in motor vehicles with the help of oscilloscopes. The eight consortium partners and, currently, 27 associated partners from the fields of research, car repair shops, diagnostic providers, platform and AI development are relying on a newly automated measurement method. Using oscilloscopes – i.e., voltmeters – in the engine compartment, data is recorded, stored centrally in a cloud and can be interpreted in a more differentiated way using an AI-supported process.

Approaches to solving challenges in the industry

Car Repair 4.0 demonstrates how digital technologies and applications from Gaia-X can be successfully implemented economically. In particular, the project strengthens the competitiveness of independent car repair shops, significantly improves resource efficiency in the car repair industry and counteracts the shortage of skilled workers. Customers also benefit from cost savings as a result of shorter repair times and fewer components that have been unnecessarily replaced.

The most important tasks and initiatives

Within the framework of the project agreements, the eco Association is responsible for stakeholder management, marketing and public relations, community and networking activities. There is a regular exchange with the consortium leader LMIS, the associated partners and the accompanying research team (acatech e.V.) regarding the content and strategic orientation of the dissemination. As the moderator, eco has organised a monthly marketing meeting for the associated partners since June 2022. Among other features, the association speaks there about current project progress, marketing measures and editorial content. At the marketing meeting, new partners have the opportunity to present themselves to other project participants.

Results in media presence and communications

In close consultation and cooperation with LMIS and the subcontracted Hahn Network, stakeholders and target groups were identified, conceptually and strategically, and successfully onboarded. eco offered those interested in an associated partnership the opportunity to make contact for initial discussions at trade fairs (e.g., Werkstatt- & IAM-Branchenforum, Automechanika, Fachtagung Freie Werkstätten and Hannover Messe), events (e.g., eco Interaction Day, meeting of Networkers NRW) and its own learning opportunities (e.g., webinar “Does AI bring a golden future to the mobility industry?”), but also via various dissemination channels, such as those on the website and social media (LinkedIn).

To create awareness among target groups and stakeholders, eco keeps them connected with seamless communication. For example, the website was designed and created by eco in two languages (German and English). It registers more than 200 website users per month and, at the end of 2022, had more than 30 contributions in line with the project’s editorial plan. The continuous reporting not only makes the development of the project visible over time, but also contributes to the fact that more and more interested parties seek initial contact with Car Repair 4.0 via the website.

Further public relation measures are the creation of four newsletter instalments (with 60 subscribers, as of 11 November 2022) and a LinkedIn group as a precursor to the current social media company page (383 LinkedIn followers, as of 11 January 2023). The YouTube channel, which has existed since 16 March 2022, had close to 2,000 views at the end of the year. The videos published there were created by the eco team.

In order to disseminate information on the project and to raise awareness among external editorial teams, eco placed technical articles and interviews in the German trade press (e.g., Kfz-Betrieb, AUTOHAUS, Auto Service Praxis, SDI). In addition, Car Repair 4.0 presented itself in the following German-language industry podcasts: Mobility of Tomorrow, AI in Industry, Das Ohr am Netz).

Gaia-X, learning platform and training offers

Through regular consultations with the Gaia-X Federation Services (GXFS) team, the latest information on the development status was obtained and submitted to the consortium. In addition, the CR4.0 team attended GXFS technical and training events.

eco was also involved in the evaluation and conception of teaching and training programmes. It supported the networking of the Georg Agricola University of Applied Sciences (THGA) with multipliers such as chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of trade, associations and motor vehicle guilds. Information events and workshops on the learning platform and educational offers are being planned. Together with the THGA, discussions were held on the strategic dissemination of the teaching content, while stakeholder groups were analysed and goals were defined.