Automotive Technology is Thriving in Dexter
By Matt Jensen, STN Writer
Your cars are getting smarter and the diagnostic technology to keep them running more complicated. One local company is making sure we don’t get left behind.
Vehicle repairs can be intimidating enough for owners, but with the advances in automotive engineering, mechanics find themselves struggling to keep up with each manufacturer’s proprietary technology. Dexter’s Opus IVS is a technology company designed to bridge those gaps and help minimize repair downtime.
In 1965 Gordon E. Moore coined a new thought about technology. Now referred to as Moore’s Law, it states that the number of transistors on microchips will double approximately every two years. In layman's terms, computers will double in power and speed every other year.
While he only predicted this would be the case for the next ten years, the principle has held true for close to 50. This massive exponential growth has affected every technological industry we can imagine. Many folks now carry computers many thousands of times more powerful than the machines that sent us to the moon in their pockets.
Of course, the automotive industry has not been left behind in this growth cycle. Cars are more complicated, powerful, and computerized than ever before. And with growth often comes change and diversity. Where once a mechanic might learn the basics of combustion engines and be able to work on just about any motorized vehicle, the range of engines, cars, diagnostics tools, and manufacturers has massively increased thereby making a difficult learning curve far more complex.
Fortunately, there are always smart folks who can take advantage of gaps in the industry. “With the rise of [rideshares] has come the push for autonomous cars,” says Brian Herron, the CEO of Opus IVS. Located in Dexter MI, the company is a fascinating example of folks bringing technological expansion to those who need it.
“The self-driving car was projected to happen in 2020,” Brian says, “but while that didn’t happen exactly, the technology required is there.” ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are extremely close to driving your car for you. These are called Active Safety Systems, according to Brian, where the car will intervene for you. They include blind spot monitoring, automatic braking, lane awareness, and are poised to be required in all new cars as soon as 2025.
IVS stands for Intelligent Vehicle Support and just as the words suggest, Opus IVS helps repair shops complete jobs on complex vehicles by connecting staff with brand-specific master technicians. “Only about a third of dealerships actually service their cars after purchase,” Brian mentioned. So that means that lots of folks end up taking their repairs to independent shops. “In the aftermarket, they have to service every brand. So their techs have to be sharp… But these systems are incredibly complicated. They use lasers, radar, and camera systems that require crazy calibration.” Even after something as innocuous as painting a bumper, a car’s ADA Systems would need to be recalibrated in order to function properly.
Repair shops can become completely overwhelmed by the varied service requests and technical jobs they find themselves responsible for. And that is where Opus shines. “Shops call us for the really hard stuff,” Brian says, “for the brands they are not familiar with.” Then Opus can provide the support the shops need. Either by running the diagnostics remotely or by training the tech to use the brand-specific diagnostic tools that Opus has designed.
All of the new technology creates many new needs in the aftermarket. And this is the part that Brian is focused on currently. “We moved into the old Thompson Reuters building in Dexter and we have about 70 current job openings in many different levels of the company. We are growing and looking for passionate and talented people!” With an excellent rating on GlassDoor and a competitive job market, Opus IVS could have the open position that folks have been looking for. Either way, it is exciting to see cutting-edge technology and resources blossoming in a community like Dexter.