- porsche has been using augmented reality (ar) to solve tricky service problems since 2018, letting local dealership technicians communicate with specialists thousands of miles away and access technical information hands-free while working.
- since the coronavirus pandemic began keeping field technicians out of dealerships in march, use of the ar diagnostic tools has tripled, the automaker says.
- dealership technicians are now using the ar glasses to seek help from experts about once per day per dealership.
we've all had to alter our routines and learn to use familiar technology in unfamiliar ways in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic has upended life in the united states. but some of us are more prepared than others. porsche has been using augmented reality to diagnose particularly tricky technical problems in its dealerships since a pilot of the program, called tech live look, started in 2017. following a stepped rollout, the system was rolled out into 189 u.s. porsche dealerships by the end of 2019. now, it's getting more use than ever.
the live look system uses a set of odg r-7 smart glasses with air enterprise software from atheer, a california-based ar software provider. dealership technicians faced with a problem they can’t immediately diagnose can put on the glasses and reach out to a remote expert. the local tech can then use the glasses to show the expert around the car in question. this technology is a lot more advanced than your typical zoom call. while technicians are wearing the glasses, remote experts can take screenshots from their own desktops and cause technical bulletins or service instructions to be displayed in the wearer’s sightline.
porsche rolled out this technology to dealerships during 2018 and 2019, so it’s been part of many technicians arsenals for a while, but the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing requirements at dealerships has put it in much more common use. porsche’s field technical experts are no longer able to travel to dealerships, which means that they are being called on via the ar system much more frequently. porsche says use of the system tripled between february and march, and that the higher levels were sustained in april.
before porsche implemented the tech live look program, diagnosing issues that required expert input relied on remote experts and local technicians trading email and phone calls until the issue was resolved. porsche estimates that the ar technology allows service technicians to solve difficult problems 40 percent faster than they could before the availability of the ar technology. porsche hopes that by speeding service times even in the case of complex problems, they can help keep preserve their customers' mobility during a challenging time.