RAC rolls out new diagnostic technology for patrol vehicles

Article date: 13 December 2007

RAC is introducing a new diagnostic infrastructure for all patrol vehicles which will enable an even more efficient and technologically advanced service for its members. 

The new Patrol Vehicle System (PVS) will enhance and integrate communications, diagnostics and information, as well as replacing the current two main systems; the Mobile Data Terminal, on which the patrol receives the information for each job, and also the laptop PC, which holds technical information and hosts vehicle diagnostics.

One of the key benefits of the new technology is that it allows access to remote information sources, such as motor manufacturer and third party websites. It will also automatically pull up technical information relating to the broken down vehicle by associating vehicle make and model data received in the initial call with technical information stored by the PVS.  This means that the patrol will be presented with the most relevant technical information available to enable the customer's vehicle to be repaired at roadside.

PVS is constantly connected to the RAC Technical Centre as well as its Customer Solutions Centre. This means the technical team can upload remotely new data directly to the system in the patrol van without the need for intervention by the patrol. In fact, new and relevant information can be uploaded to the PVS whilst the patrol is on route to a breakdown automatically if the PVS detects the information in the technical centre is more up-to-date than its own internal information.

An added benefit is that the PC, which sits at the heart of PVS, holds all the technical information and acts as a communications hub and so it can be removed easily from the patrol vehicle. This allows patrols to have both technical information and diagnostic tools at their fingertips when working on the customer's vehicle whilst also maintaining constant, real time communication with the Customer Solutions Centre, even if the member's vehicle is some distance from the patrol vehicle.

In addition, the new system provides a platform for many future enhancements, which will further assist patrols to become even more efficient and effective. 

David Bizley, technical director at RAC, comments: "When new information needed to be inputted into the previous system, it was loaded onto a CD and two thousand copies were produced and posted out to all patrols.  Now, new information just needs to be validated and can then be uploaded via the mobile communications network into the PVS in every patrol vehicle. In this way, if a patrol identifies a fix for a particular problem, it can be made available to every patrol within hours rather than weeks.

"As the system will automatically locate technical information relevant to the breakdown whilst the patrol is on route, less time will be wasted searching for data and this will speed the time taken to fix the problem.

"We will also use the system as a training tool to support open learning packages or training video material, for example, to help patrols better understand new vehicles.

"The new Patrol Vehicle System is more resilient than its predecessor and can withstand water, oil, etc, so it copes better with the unpredictability of the breakdown environment."


RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn on 01603 684 224 / 07800 692 909 or Elinor Graveson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8025 / 07973 360141

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at http://www.racnews.co.uk.

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