Collision Repair: The Future Is Now
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Collision Repair: The Future Is Now

How is fast-developing technology going to change your shop, vehicle repairs and customer experience?

Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

Have you ever watched those movies that are set in the future, but the future is a far-fetched version of what actually came to be? For example, Blade Runner with Harrison Ford made in 1982 was set in 2019 but it featured synthetic humans known as “replicants” and showed flying cars. Clearly we never got there! Or Back to the Future II, made in 1989, where Doc and Marty traveled to 2015 and also experienced flying cars but also hoverboards. The movies always got it way wrong; civilization in the movie was always far more advanced than reality, but perhaps that was the point. After all, Hollywood is all about entertainment and exaggeration.

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Sitting in the Collision Industry Conference last month in Phoenix and listening to the Future Disruptions Committee talk about virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality and how they will affect vehicle repairs, I thought, “Wow, maybe the future is here. It’s now. And things are accelerating so fast that reality might catch up to the movies soon!” I mean, we’re talking about colonizing Mars, space tourism is right around the corner, cars are getting to the point of driving themselves, and electric vehicle production is increasing. Artificial intelligence is behind the scenes of almost everything we do, and virtual claims technologies are advancing quickly, with COVID helping to “fast-track” them.

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I’m really thinking that technology is catching up to Hollywood screenwriters’ brains — and that’s kind of scary! It’s food for thought as you think about how technology is changing your shop, vehicle repairs and customer experience. If you don’t hop on to this flying car, you’re going to be left eating its stardust.

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