Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology currently making a big impact with industrial applications allowing technicians to perform service and repairs by accessing the latest digital repair processes and service manuals. The technology is also being use for training providing a new level of digital knowledge like never before. AR App’s enable the user to view the real world with overlayed computer-generated images (CGI) – part design information, CAD data, text and animations projected in the user’s field of view. As this technology is still evolving, there are several different levels of augmentation ranging from simple heads up displays to systems that blur the lines between what is real and CGI.
TECHNICIAN: INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
For applications in the automotive repair and service industry, AR provides several significant benefits. The primary benefit is hands-free context relevant information such as technical data sheets, schematics and step by step procedures appearing in the user’s field of view without obscuring the view what they’re working on. This makes the information more intuitive and can help the user pin point the location or object that is the subject of the information. Applications may be applied to show a technician an “x-ray like” view of the assembly highlighting where parts are and how to disassemble or reassemble them. It’s also useful for showing technical notices on what can and cannot be repaired or modified without compromising the safety and integrity of the vehicle structures or systems. Other applications include maintenance procedures and operating instructions for equipment. For design and development applications, a virtual overlay of design changes can be projected onto the real assembly allowing the user to see if the part has the correct geometry or if there’s adequate clearance with adjacent parts in the assembly
INFORMATION: LIVE UPDATES – MUTI-USER PLATFORMS
For OEM repair and service procedures, training manuals or data from equipment can be presented on a virtual dashboard. Similarly, virtual quality control check sheets can prompt the user to verify the status and condition of the job including capturing data and images for quality records. Another useful application is with remote technical advice. The user can enter a remote video link with a technical expert and get interactive guidance for troubleshooting and calling up technical details on the job at hand as well as relay the system status of the object. No more lost time searching for information or asking other technicians as this new technology, accessible via your smartphone, tablet or an AR headset, directs your attention to its exact location and provides information live at your fingertips. The system also provides multiuser interactivity with stakeholders in the value chain. For example, a manufacturer can verify the correct repair procedures used by the repair facility and the repair service centre may in turn provide the vehicle owner access to a quality assurance report confirming the vehicle repairs are to OEM standard.
SMART TOOLS – PHONE, TABLET AND SMART GLASSES
The most common AR tools are everyday smartphones and tablets. More recently a range of AR headsets have become available, looking almost like normal reading glasses or sunglasses. The higher end AR technologies can detect real world objects and allow CGI and data interaction with these objects on the multiuser platform. These systems also enable interactive real-time video streaming, remote communications and information exchange via a multiuser platform.