The era of car mechanics quoting you extortionate prices for repairs you're not even sure you need could be at an end. Audi has rolled out a new 'Audi Cam' service that allows their service technicians to show customers exactly what's wrong with their vehicles with the aid of hand-held video cameras.
Each technician working on your car uses a camera and produces narrated video clips that show exactly what needs your attention and suggest action that should be taken. The footage is then placed on a customer-specific PIN-protected Web page that is emailed to the customer.
To keep things simple, each problem found is filmed as an individual clip thus minimising file size and the likelihood of buffering on creaky Internet connections. This also allows problems to be placed online in as little as three minutes.
Usefully, the fault in each clip is graded as either 'urgent', 'advisory' or 'for info' so the customer has a clear idea of what action needs to be taken and when. The page also includes a tax-inclusive price quote for each job and action buttons you can click to proceed with the fix at the price quoted. You can also click to reject the work or request a cal back to discuss things further.
Sadly, you won't be able to watch online as technicians carry out repairs, but if you really want to see what's happening to your pride and joy you can head down to the repair centre and take advantage of Audi Direct Reception. This allows customers in the reception area see their vehicles as they're worked on by technicians equipped with head-mounted cameras and two-way audio links, so you can hurl abuse or encouragement as you see fit.
Paul Sansom, head of anftersales and service for Audi UK said: "Audi is unquestionably an innovator where its cars are concerned, and I’m delighted that we’re now also making real headway in advancing the art of looking after those cars and their drivers.
"By effectively beaming the workshop to our customers’ homes or smartphones, Audi Cam greatly simplifies the service and repair process, and at the same time breaks down more of the barriers between the service bay and the customer that have traditionally fostered scepticism and suspicion. This is genuine progress through technology in the best tradition of Vorsprung durch Technik."