‘Augmented reality’ to help Volkswagen fix vans faster

  • Time saving tech set to speed up complex repairs
  • Puts local technicians in direct contact with experts
  • Available at all 67 Van Centres and 30 Authorised Repairers

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is to start using so-called ‘augmented reality’ headsets across its entire Van Centre network as a means of resolving complex repairs more quickly and getting customer vans back on the road faster.

The move follows a successful trial of the equipment, which is said to have raised repair efficiency by 93% and saved a year of vehicle downtime overall.

If that sounds like gobbledegook, keep reading and we’ll try to explain.

What is augmented reality and how does it help get my van fixed faster?

VW’s augmented reality uses a headset – made by RealWare – with a built-in display, camera and microphone.

Technician wearing VW augmented reality headset

When faced with a tricky problem to solve, a technician in a service centre (or one of VW’s mobile service vans) can put on one of these headsets and connect directly with an expert at Volkswagen’s main UK Technical Support Centre.

The camera means the expert can see exactly what the technician is looking at, while the display means that the expert can place essential info into the technician’s view – which might include highlighting the problem areas, adding a wiring diagram or suggesting a repair procedure.

Hence the technician’s reality is augmented by this additional info, guiding them through the repair process.

VW expert at the Technical Support Centre using augmented reality to speed up van repair

This makes repairs quicker because the expert no longer has to be on site to tackle the problem – the staff already on the ground can function as their eyes, ears and hands instead.

The reduction in travelling means a reduction in VW’s CO2 generation, too.

Is this really a big problem?

VW reckons it typically faces 500 repairs a year that are unusual or complex, which would previously have resulted in an expert being dispatched from the Technical Support Centre to resolve.

The RealWare headsets are set to significantly reduce this, to the extent that across the whole network, something like five years of vehicle downtime is expected to be saved (along with 2.5 tonnes of CO2).

VW Crafter at Van Centre for repair

Since downtime represents any period a vehicle that should be out doing a job – earning money, in other words – but isn’t able to, the innovation is also anticipated to save UK businesses a total of around £1million a year.

Sounds like good news to us.

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