Our Research & Innovation team has developed a prototype to show how mixed reality can revolutionise everyday work in the workshop. With HoloLens 2 from Microsoft, one of the most comfortable mixed reality devices currently available, the mechanic can be optimally supported during the inspection and repair of a vehicle. The device allows to identify the vehicle type and the component automatically, to select the relevant replacement parts and it shows related repair and maintenance information (RMI) and technical data from TecAlliance. And all this without any further tools. This means that the mechanic has his hands free for his actual work. In a short video we show a real use case that can already be implemented in the workshop today.
A practical use case
In the use case we show in the video, the mechanic first identifies the vehicle via the VIN number. He is shown which part of the wheel arch is involved and can display the replacement parts that match the vehicle type from the TecDoc Catalogue. He has further tools at his disposal, such as a virtual ruler. He can use his fingers to determine the exact dimensions of the component and thus further narrow down the search results. In addition, the mechanic can access related repair and maintenance information.
Good preparation for fast results
In preparation for the development project, TecAlliance employees took photos of the wheel arches of their own cars during tyre changes and made them available to the Research & Innovations team. These photos were used to “train” the system thanks to artificial intelligence.
The team carried out initial tests with the predecessor model HoloLens 1 and planned possible use cases. When the HoloLens 2 was then available in April, the team, consisting of Christian Krause (Research & Innovation Officer), Christian Becker (Research Engineer) and working student Christopher Göttfert, was able to start right away. The prototype was ready in July.
It is not yet a finished product, but it shows what possibilities are already available today and how TecAlliance can support the workshops with innovative new solutions.
Using technologies of the future today
“Our Research & Innovation team deals with the latest technological possibilities and trends. We consider how we can use them effectively to make our established industry solutions fit for the future. We want to lead the way with innovations and further increase productivity and efficiency in the automotive aftermarket”, explains Christian Becker. “Our first main project was the development of a voice assistance system two years ago, which was designed to support the mechanic during the initial inspection of the vehicle. With the HoloLens project, we are going one step further, combining voice command with the possibilities of artificial intelligence and mixed or augmented reality.”
Next projects already in the pipeline
There are many more possibilities to optimise the daily workshop routine with the HoloLens 2. “We have identified many more use cases. For example, we can integrate the number plate search, read out all documents such as the vehicle registration document, detect and measure paint defects and much more,” says Christian Krause.
Communication with insurance companies and the end customer also offers a lot of potential. “This is how we imagine the future: The mechanic stands at the vehicle and is in direct contact with the customer via a web call. He shows him additional defects, can immediately give him a cost estimate and have it approved. Or he records a video during his work, which is archived in the cloud in case of complaints”, says Christian Krause.
The next project is already in preparation: in the upcoming months, a prototype of an app for iOS and Android-based mobile devices will be developed. This should offer the same possibilities without having to purchase a HoloLens 2.
We congratulate the team on this success and are already looking forward to the next results!
Our colleagues will be happy to answer any questions about the project and possible applications of the HoloLens 2: firstname.lastname@example.org.