You get into your car, you start the engine and immediately you can hear that something’s not right – there is a noise. But what is it? Some professional mechanics have that skill of recognizing the problem by the sound it makes. But for others it is borderline impossible. Now Škoda developed an artificial intelligence-based app, which will basically be Shazam for car problems.
Shazam is one of the apps that can recognize the song just by listening to it. It works tremendously well and people for a long time were asking why there isn’t something similar for cars. Well, the issue here is that there are so many different noises that ICE-powered cars can make. However, AI can help with that.
“Sound Analyser” smartphone app uses the device’s microphone to pick up various sounds. Software then analyzes those noises and transforms them into a spectrogram that visually depicts the acoustic signals. AI then takes over and compares the recording with information in the database, looking for deviations. The app then amanges to produce information about the upcoming maintenance or repairs based on predetermined patterns. Škoda engineers say that the “Sound Analyser” app helps technicians to perform accurate diagnostics on a vehicle.
Klaus Blüm, Head of ŠKODA IT, said: “At ŠKODA, we are consistently looking to comprehensively digitalise processes, products and services for our customers along the entire value chain. In order to be able to recognise the potential of innovations early on, develop them quickly and use them intelligently, we are continuously coordinating with the specialist departments to jointly implement new digitalisation projects.”
Škoda started testing this app back in June 2019. It’s been trialled in 14 countries,including Germany, Russia, Austria and France, – a total of 245 ŠKODA dealers were involved in this study. Not only did they help test the accuracy of this technology, they also provided the audio recordings for the software’s ‘learning process’. Škoda’s “Sound Analyser” now can analyse a limited number of components, but it reaches an accuracy of 90 %. Although further development is definitely needed, it seems like it will become a very useful tool in a non-distant future.
The “Sound Analyser” program is Škoda-specific. It takes vehicle-specific parameters and analyses the usage profile of the respective car to produce highly accurate results. Also, if it will become a commercial product, it is likely to be available to technicians only. However, it is nice to know that this kind of technology is possible in the first place. This means that in the near future we are definitely going to have apps like this to diagnose and fix our cars.