Augmented reality technology allowing technicians to be guided through van repairs via special glasses is being trialled by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The four month pilot in 10 van centres will see technicians wearing RealWear glasses, which are fitted with a microphone, head camera, display screen and voice activation functionality.
These allow technicians to connect directly with experts at VW’s central technical support centre, who will be able to see what the technician sees and guide them through complex repairs.
They can do this both by talking them through the procedure, and also by sending images such as wiring diagrams to be displayed virtually via the glasses in front of the technician.
VW says the technology could significantly reduce service time, and if the trial is successful it will be rolled out to all the firm’s UK technicians from June.
Paul Anderson, service operations manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “This is an exciting step forward in maximising uptime for our customers through the use of augmented reality and remote diagnostic tools.
“Our ultimate aim is to ensure we can keep the customers’ vehicles on the road for longer and that means reducing the time it takes to repair a vehicle when it’s in the workshop.
“The new devices allow our team of technical support agents to support our network with a virtual visit which is as close as possible to the real thing – without the limitations.
“Factors such as time out of the office, speed to booking and travel time are stripped out.
“Through the reduction of diagnostic times we will have a direct impact on mobility costs which takes pressure off courtesy fleets and opens up additional capacity within the Van Centre to become more productive.”
John McNally, service director at the Cordwallis Volkswagen Van Centre, is a part of the team involved in the pilot programme.
He said: “I strongly believe that the technology will help us to work better as a network and will definitely improve our customer services in the near future.
“We have introduced our customers to the concept and have received extremely positive feedback on the use of this technology.”