Porsche 'digital twin' can predict when your car will need service

You may seek repairs long before there's a serious problem.

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Porsche Taycan 'digital twin' for maintenance and service
Porsche Taycan 'digital twin' for maintenance and service Porsche

Wouldn't it be better if your car could recommend service based on when you're likely to need it, not just a fixed schedule? It just might. Porsche is developing a "digital twin" (that is, a virtual copy) that helps predict service requirements based on driving styles. Algorithms can parse a combination of sensor data and "big data" to recommend service based on your driving style. You may need early work on your suspension if you take your car to the track, or the engine if you have a long highway commute.

The system can even anticipate faults before they happen. That will please mechanics, of course, but it could also keep you safe (and spare you additional repair costs) by scheduling maintenance long before there's a crisis.

Porsche doesn't officially launch its first digital twin until 2022, and then only using sensor data. Field testing is already underway however — about half of Taycan owners have volunteered for a pilot that anonymously monitors the EV's air suspension for body acceleration. If the car ventures past certain thresholds, the vehicle tells the driver they may need to visit a repair shop.

The twin system would let automakers ditch fixed maintenance schedules in favor of driver-specific recommendations. Porsche also envisions the algorithms helping even when your car is running flawlessly. You'd have a digital record that could both suggest an accurate selling price for a used car as well as greater transparency for would-be buyers. Car brands could even pitch extended warranties based on the status of your car. So long as companies take privacy into account, though, this could save you more than a little stress (and moments of sheer panic) on the road.

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