At the New York International Auto Show recently, Openbay, an online marketplace for auto repair, announced a new platform that brings diagnostics and repair quotes to your iPhone. The platform, OpenbayConnect, is the first of its kind and leverages connected-car technology to remotely diagnose automotive vehicle problems and deliver competitive repair quotes to consumers from local mechanics.
Using a cellular wireless device plugged into the car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, OpenbayConnect reads the vehicle error codes and other important data generated by the automobile’s onboard computers. Using that information, OpenbayConnect can quickly pinpoint vehicle problems or better understand the cause and effect of the problem.
In the past, automobile owners would need to take their cars to a mechanic to have these codes read and information downloaded, but OpenbayConnect makes that a thing of the past. All of the vehicle data is gathered by the consumer-installable wireless communication device, compatible with approximately 81 percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads today, and sends it to a computer system for remote diagnosis.
Using this information, automated alerts of problems are generated, in simple language, and pushed to the owner’s iPhone via the Openbay app. These notifications can also include recommended simple solutions to common problems, along with competitive, binding offers from local mechanics. Because repair shops’ prices often vary by 30 to 50 percent, the consumer gets an unparalleled ability to save while working with a well-rated shop.
“We live in an on-demand society, and today’s connected consumers expect immediate responses to their needs. Fewer people are raising a hand to hail a cab or calling a restaurant to book a reservation, and now, we’re eliminating the need to head to a mechanic to diagnose a check-engine light,” said Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay.
OpenbayConnect will be made available beginning in spring 2015 to a select user base from Openbay and its partners. You can apply for access to OpenbayConnect through their Web page. The Openbay app is a free download on the App Store.