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Maintenance Experience 'So Valuable Right Now' for Autonomous Future

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Jan. 2, 2017—Sean Behr, co-founder and CEO of Stratim, says autonomous vehicles open up new opportunities for technicians.

Maintenance experience and information from trucking fleets “is so valuable right now to the folks dealing with the real-world logistics of car sharing and autonomous vehicles,” Behr said. “This is a natural place for collaboration and discussion.”

Stratim is a start-up based in San Francisco that has raised more than $36 million in funding. It alerts and plans when and where vehicles need to be fueled or have maintenance performed.

The company monitors more than 10,000 cars and vans from 50 clients including BMW, Ford, and General Motors.

By the end of this decade, Behr expects a societal shift to be well underway, with more people owning fewer vehicles, instead relying ride-sharing services that will be at least partially autonomous.

For corporate-owned fleets, “it won’t be enough to know a car needs gas,” Behr said. “The car actually needs to be fueled.”

Behr added one thing will not change—all of these vehicles will require preventative maintenance and emergency repairs. The problems of today will still exist, such as tires needing air and windshields getting dinged up from road debris.

That brings the “interesting parallel” with trucking, Behr said, as these consumer technology businesses get more involved in total vehicle management. 

Behr said Stratim is not actively involved in heavy-duty trucking, but does work with clients operating vans or light-duty trucks for last-mile and urban deliveries.

“These guys face some of the biggest logistical challenges moving a variety of goods quickly and effectively from warehouses 6 or 7 miles away into crowded downtown areas.” And regardless of the size of the vehicle, “challenges will remain to keep these vehicle going.”

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