As part of the nationwide lockdown, this March saw the automotive industry close factories and re-evaluate new product development plans. Vehicle manufacturers were faced with the prospect of postponing, or abandoning, critical programmes – putting at risk their viability unless new and effective working practices could be enacted quickly.
Fortunately, leading engineering, test and development consultancy HORIBA MIRA were already one step ahead with a practical solution; enabling a wide range of vehicle engineering services to be conducted remotely in ‘real time’. The result of which, according to HORIBA MIRA, has helped to minimise disruption for the sector, whilst sparking a widespread acceleration of the adoption of next-generation development processes.
Richard Adams, Head of Global Sales for Verification and Validation at HORIBA MIRA, comments: “The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption for the automotive industry, testing our normal working practices and forcing us to adapt in new ways. Yet while it might be a challenging time, it is important to note there are still positives to report.
“One such example is the rise of remote, “contactless” engineering services. Although we’ve provided this capability for over a decade, the offering has never been as popular, as customers seek to continue with vital vehicle development programmes. Crucially, while these recent decisions may have initially been taken on a needs-must basis, many of our customers are now realising the multiple benefits afforded by taking this approach.”
As an early pioneer of the remote application of vehicle testing, HORIBA MIRA’s end-to-end contactless services include the use of ‘secured’ live data, remote re-flashing, wearable cameras and CCTV in laboratory settings, which enable offsite customer teams to drive the development process in real-time.
Richard added: “Fundamentally, a huge benefit lies in the flexibility of remote engineering services. At HORIBA MIRA, the delivery team could be entirely resourced by our engineers, or a blend of OEM, and tier one and two stakeholders as the programme dictates at different times. This way, programme leaders, often with multiple teams operating in global locations, are able to maintain a meaningful understanding of the development status for each programme without the need to send oversized teams to witness the development process; a feat which has proved crucial amid COVID-19. The end-result is a faster technical iteration rate at a lower cost.
“To ensure our industry emerges with the best toolset possible to respond to this crisis and grow, now is the time to recognise the benefits associated with remote engineering services and embed these into our future systems of working. There’s no doubt that there will be more change to come for the automotive sector as we look to meet the challenge of driving forward in a post-pandemic world, however this notable shift towards remote engineering services marks the defining chapter in a positive legacy towards mainstream adoption.”
HORIBA MIRA holds accreditations with both Cyber Essentials and TISAXS, an important recognition of the well-established, secure network by which it operates its remote testing services.