Volkswagen to Test RealWear AR in UK

RealWear, maker of AR wearable tech for industrial use, announced that Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has formed an agreement with RealWear to trial its augmented reality devices in ten Volkswagen Van Centres in the UK ahead of a national rollout.

“This is an exciting step forward in maximizing uptime for our customers through the use of augmented reality and remote diagnostic tools,” said Paul Anderson, Service Operations Manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “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 one of our centres.”

Using the state-of-the-art wearable device, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles service technicians will be able to simply clip the head-mounted device onto a safety helmet or bump cap and connect directly with the Technical Support Centre at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Technical Support Centre at the head office in Milton Keynes. Anderson explained that the device was well designed for loud workshop environments, dark and tight areas which require light and hands-free use in rugged environments.

This virtual assistance could significantly reduce service time, as technicians will be supported throughout the diagnosis and repair of the vehicle.

“The RealWear HMT-1 device is solving one of industry’s major dilemmas by bringing the right information to every frontline worker in real time, reducing downtime and improving productivity,” said Andy Lowery, RealWear’s Co-founder and CEO in a statement. “We will work closely with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to ensure a successful pilot and rollout to allow them to give the best support to their customers.”

Anderson continued, “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 agent being in the centre. Factors such as time out of the office, speed to booking and travel time are stripped out leaving only the value of having our technical support agents virtually in the Van Centre to support the diagnostic process. There’s clearly an environmental benefit in this approach, too.”

RealWear’s purpose-built platform enables experts to send precise visual instructions remotely to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Van Centres and field technicians.

The HMT-1 device serves as a virtual technical support agent, guiding technicians through complex repairs by augmenting images, wiring diagrams and adding repair suggestions into their view while walking them through the necessary diagnostic steps.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles plans to roll the technology out to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles technicians including those that work in Volkswagen’s Mobile Service Clinics.

Augmented Reality, when combined with existing digital services such as screen-sharing of diagnostic equipment and remote control of vehicle functions when in the workshop, has proven to be a powerful tool in the early stages of the pilot. Anderson added, “We believe this has future benefits beyond this application to support one-to-many coaching and providing a fast-link back to the Van Centre for Mobile Service Technicians.”

John McNally, Service Director at the Cordwallis Volkswagen Van Centre, is a part of the team involved in the pilot. He said, “We have now started our augmented reality trial to help us deal with repairs and customer issues. 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. We can already see substantial benefits and are expecting to see continued success when the program is rolled out nationally.”