The fifth-generation mobile network, or 5G, allows for high-speed data transfer, and has accelerated the use of augmented reality (AR) — not just in smartphones, the Internet and online gaming, but also in the car industry.
AR technology is the use of an interactive experience between the physical world and the digital realm. It enhances real-life objects with effects and display features not available in current reality. AR technology is now widely used in various aspects and stages of the car industry. From the design process and manufacturing to the servicing of cars to enhancing the customers’ experience as a car buyer, AR applications are progressively transforming the future of the car industry.
DESIGNING AND PRODUCTIONCar designers are now able to use AR technology to assess various design options and make adjustments using projected overlays on actual car models to see what works and what doesn’t. They can create a 3D model of a car and observe how it performs in a real-world situation. This allows the testing of the safety of the car without having to resort to crashing an actual car. This way, they are able to create multiple scenarios to evaluate a prototype design more extensively.
In the manufacturing process, plant employees are able to receive assembly information of the various parts of the vehicle remotely. AR technology, incorporated with artificial intelligence, is also used to streamline the production process, highlight any potential issues or problems, and address them before they affect the assembly line. With less need for actual prototypes to be made and most testing done via AR, car companies can devote more resources to production.
TRAINING AND SERVICINGThe deployment of AR technology for the use of technical training helps junior technicians learn and retain the necessary knowledge in a safer environment. Using simulations, they gain knowledge on how to repair vehicles without having to deal with the actual parts. This way, accidents are kept to a minimum until they are ready to handle the repairs in real life.
Mercedes Benz Canada dealerships have their technicians using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headsets to link up with Mercedes Benz tech experts elsewhere in the world for more precise insights into vehicle servicing. The dealership technicians can share real-time views and sounds of the vehicles they are servicing with these experts remotely and together they can make decisions on what to do and how to deal with problems the car may have.
The tech experts work in an immersive AR environment, where they can share intricate 3D images and holograms with the technicians. This interaction allows them to make changes, share documents, and insert instructions to highlight areas of the car the technicians should focus on. This helps complete complex maintenance issues more quickly and efficiently.
DIGITAL SHOWROOMSCar dealerships are now given the opportunity to present a more immersive experience for potential customers, thanks to AR. Digital showrooms now integrate realistic 3D visualisations of any car model in the desired colour, trim or variant. Potential customers can now customise the interior or exterior of their car in real-time and interact with their ‘car’ remotely. This allows them to make a decision more quickly and, most importantly, conveniently.
Gone will be the days when a potential customer has to make time to go down to a physical showroom. They just need something as simple as an AR app of their preferred car brand on their smartphones and they can do just about anything, from colour change to the design of the wheels. In addition to quicker sales conversions, AR also enables the consumer to feel, to a certain extent, like they are a part of the design process as well.
The potential of AR technology is immense and it will only grow as the global network upgrades to even faster speeds in the future.