When a customer brings a vehicle into an auto service center, often times the vehicle has pre-existing damage, even as small as chips in the windshield and scrapes on the bumper. If a customer charges that the dealership caused the damage after the vehicle was brought in to be serviced, disputing the claim often is difficult and sometimes impossible, thus resulting in a settlement and costing the dealership thousands of dollars to fix an issue they did not cause.

To help dispute unwarranted claims, a video surveillance system was requested by a large East Coast dealership, Martin Honda, Mazda, Kia, to detect damage as vehicles enter the dealership’s service bay. One of the more challenging requests for this system was to design an application whereby virtually every angle of the vehicle could be caught on video surveillance in such a way that it could detect pre-existing damage on the vehicle.

ARG Communications, a provider of business telephone systems and video surveillance, chose VIVOTEK and a total of 38 of its indoor and outdoor security solutions to solve Martin Honda, Mazda, Kia’s security surveillance issues.

An application was designed that allows the cameras to detect pre-existing damage for any size vehicle from a standard car to a minivan to a full-size SUV. It was developed so that the cameras are mounted offset from the wall covering the left and right sides of the vehicle for all three of the dealership’s bays, while the top of the vehicle was covered from above. There were a total of eight cameras installed for this application alone.

Another 32 cameras were installed throughout the service center, carwash and parking lot. Two panoramic network cameras are being used for stairwells. Thirteen fixed-dome network cameras are being used in various indoor locations. Six bullet cameras are being used in various exterior locations. Thirteen 360-degree fisheye-network cameras are being used in the service bay. Three multi-sensor panoramic network cameras are being used in the parking lot, and two 32-channel network video recorders (NVRs) provide the throughput and storage needed for the system.

To date, this solution has proven that damage occurred either prior to a customer bringing a vehicle in for service, or that the damage did in fact occur while it was in the hands of the service personnel. They installed two NVRs with 32TB of storage each to record each camera and hold recordings for the requested timeframe. As a part of this system installation, they also installed monitors so management can view live video. Vendor management system (VMS) client software and a cell phone application were also installed to allow viewing and access to recordings remotely.

The system has performed as the dealership had hoped. In the first six months of operation, 25 unwarranted damage claims have been avoided, saving the dealership thousands of dollars.