AA to launch app that can predict breakdowns

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The AA is launching an app that can predict more than a third of breakdowns before they actually happen.

The organisation's Car Genie service plugs into the car's on-board diagnostic socket and reads the vehicle's engine diagnostic system in real time. It can then transmit any error codes to the driver's smartphone, telling the driver exactly what the fault is and how serious it might be.

Gareth Adams, the AA's connected car manager, explained: "When there is a breakdown for a connected car member, the technical helpdesk can contact the member and advise them that, for example, it's just an oxygen sensor that's turned the warning light on and it's safe to drive but you should get it addressed by the garage as soon as possible. Or they make a better deployment decision in terms of sending a recovery vehicle."

After running a test with 10,000 members, the AA found that the system could detect 38 per cent of breakdowns ahead of them actually occurring, giving drivers the chance to make easy fixes to their vehicles before the problem got worse.

The system, which launches in May and will cost £29 on top of the existing membership fee, also works as a tracker should the vehicle be stolen.

However, it seems the most popular function of the app is the driving style monitor, which gives drivers tips on how to improve fuel economy. According to the organisation's study, 45 per cent of members deemed this their favourite feature of the app.

"We are always looking for ways to help drivers on the road and part of that is through our innovative technology," said Adams. "Car Genie will revolutionise the breakdown service experience as we know it. We will monitor the health status of our members' cars, help them understand their driving style, and at the touch of a button our experts will be there to support if there's a problem."