The system will help customers avoid breakdowns and allow technicians to fix vehicles faster

The AA has announced plans to offer members a new Smart Breakdown service that can detect impending problems and give drivers advice on how to solve the issue.

Using a plug-in device that can read vital data from the vehicle, the Smart Breakdown system will send that information to the driver via the AA app, telling them of any issues that could lead to a breakdown. The AA says it will then be able to alert its members to any action they can take to prevent a breakdown.

Car instrument cluster warning lights

However, if the vehicle does break down, the recovery company will then be able to use the data to pinpoint the vehicle’s location, and inform them of which parts will be needed. Where possible, the AA will then be able to send a patrol with exactly the right parts to fix the issue at the roadside, reducing the time it takes to get the vehicle back on the road.

The scheme, which will be available to members before the end of the year, will become a “premium tier” of AA membership and will cost £49 a year or £5 a month, depending on how members choose to pay. It follows on from the AA's Car Genie offering, which used a plug-in device to warn the AA and drivers of impending breakdowns and has given the firm “extensive customer insights”.

AA repair van and mechanic at the side of the road in Sheffield

However, the organisation says those insights, along with consumer research, have helped to make the new offering more useful and enticing for members. In its announcement, the AA described the Smart Breakdown service as “a new and unique product that will dramatically enhance the member experience”.

And members will also get the opportunity to use the Smart Breakdown service as a telematics device for their insurance - a move the AA said would “help develop more tailored and more competitively priced insurance products for members”.

Breakdown lorry carrying disabled car

Simon Breakwell, the CEO of the AA, said the organisation was using technology to give members the best products possible.

“No one is innovating like the AA. Our new Smart Breakdown offering, first of a raft of innovative products, will help motorists predict and prevent breakdowns or help them get back on the road faster if a breakdown happens. The AA is differentiating itself through investment in innovation to create simple and smart products, delivered by gold-standard service, that make members’ driving lives easier. By using data and new, smarter technologies, we are able to offer our members the enhanced digital roadside and insurance products they need and want.”