Augmented reality is coming to U.S. car repairs for the first time at scale, exclusively at Porsche dealerships across the country. Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) this week starts rolling out “Tech Live Look” to its 189 dealers in the United States. The system connects dealership technicians to remote experts via smartglasses for a live interaction that can shorten service resolution times by up to 40 percent.
Tech Live Look combines computerized eyewear and augmented reality software to allow remote experts hundreds of miles away to see what a service technician is seeing and provide feedback while the technician works hands-free. The system uses industry-leading components: ODG (Osterhout Design Group) R-7 smartglasses and the AiR Enterprise™ software platform from Atheer, Inc.
“Tech Live Look is the kind of digital innovation Porsche values because it raises the quality of the customer experience,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA. “By solving issues faster, our dealer partners can get their customers back into cars with less disruption. And our overall service quality increases as we share expertise more efficiently between our experts and dealer technicians.”
How does the technology work? Until now, a complex or unusual technical issue could go back and forth repeatedly between a dealership and the PCNA technical support team. It could take multiple electronic messages, phone calls, photos, and even on-site visits by Porsche’s Field Technical Managers to identify and diagnose the issue for repair.
Tech Live Look substantially shortens and enhances that chain of communication. A service technician at a dealership, for example in Los Angeles, dons the smartglasses and connects through the software with the Atlanta-based Porsche technical support team 2,200 miles away. Via high-definition live video from the glasses, the support team sees exactly what the technician is seeing. The expert in turn can project step-by-step technical bulletins and schematic drawings onto the display inside the technician’s glasses, as well as take screen shots and enlarge images for better visibility. The technician can open and view documents while working hands-free on the car. This information exchange is far more efficient than sending electronic forms and photos or explaining complex technical issues over the phone.
After successful pilots in 2017, the system starts going live at three of 189 U.S. Porsche dealers this week, with the aim of having 75 dealers on board by the end of the year and most of the remainder in 2019. Dealers began signing up for Tech Live Look in April.
The automotive industry has been experimenting with augmented reality technical support, but analysts say Tech Live Look is the first application at scale in U.S. auto repair. In April, Tech Live Look won a Best-in-Class Award from the annual Field Service USA conference, a major conference which focuses on improving efficiency and effectiveness of field teams across many industries. The award was for “Most Effective Technology Deployment To Increase Service Levels.”