Augmented Reality is driving the automotive industry by providing incredible customer experience in a way akin to something straight out of a sci-fi movie!
It’s literally bringing the automotive showroom on a platter to the customer, enabling the engineer to visualize concepts in a different and more effective way and train employees so that they perform better. Here are a couple of examples:
In 2016, BMW brought out an innovative concept for training employees and serving customers by mixing reality system into the vehicle development whereby they devised a technique that looked almost like playing a game.
AR had made its entry way back in 2008 as well, when MINI introduced a print advertisement using desktop camera and webcam.
This particular print ad was augmented through AR and viewers were able to enjoy a 3D walk around the car, and observe its features which until then were possible only in real metal. This kind of strategy brought an entirely new dimension to car advertising.
Here are some noted advantages of AR in the automotive industry:
1. Test Drive without Actually Being in the Vehicle
Through Augmented Reality, automobile companies allow their prospective customers to drive a vehicle without actually being in one. The German automaker, Volkswagen launched an app for its Audi customers wherein they can actually undertake an AR based test drive through three-dimensional effects without being physically present in the vehicle at all.
Recently, in June, Jaguar Range Rover released a new augmented reality advertisement where users can actually get themselves behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar SUV through a smartphone camera.
The user can see the world outside the window from the car’s perspective giving them the full blown experience of driving the car. The user can also see the rest of the car by moving it 360 degrees.
This means users do not actually have to visit a showroom or get on the road to have a test drive, but can sit in the comfort of their own room, with just a smartphone camera in hand, and an Android app.
2. Reduces Road Rage
Work and personal life stress has forced people to behave irrationally on the roads, and the instant they see someone honking too loudly, hitting the brakes too quickly, or cutting them up, rage gets triggered. This causes them to show angry gestures, scream obscene words or use foul language. When things go from bad to worse, physical violence ensures.
But, what if the car just flashed up a digital sign saying “Rushing to the hospital”, or “Sorry, I am late to the airport”, will the anger mitigate?
The digital sign is flashed through a transparent screen in the windshield, but without blocking the driver’s view. The information is displayed through an app. This is done with the help of a smartphone camera that spots other cars.
3. Innovative Support Services Tool
Automobiles are growing not only in numbers, but in complexity as well. So the service employees should be pretty aware of how to service the vehicles in the right manner. To help manage the growing complexity of vehicles, servicing professionals must be guided on their work activities.
Workers are given step by step instructions on how to perform the specific tasks, which tools are to be used, how to use them, how to assemble the parts, the right configuration and so on.
This is already being done in Volkswagen cars through MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) where real and virtual parts are shown in a three-dimensional way, including their co-relation with each other.
MARTA clearly displays the labeled parts and gives instructions on how to place them in the cars, complete with their functioning and features. Each work task will be clearly displayed through a process known as initialization. The vehicle silhouette will be shown in the tablet, making the servicing aspect of the car quick and accurate.
4. The Design Stage of the Vehicle
AR plays a crucial role in a vehicle’s design phase. It gives the manufacturers the added advantage of making their automobile products better and perfect.
Through the AR technology, they can modify or assess the parts during early stages, thereby reducing the time and cost during the launch phase. The manufacturers will have the exact picture of how the car will perform once it gets on the road.
Volkswagen is at the forefront in this aspect also. The company uses spatial augmented reality to compare virtual data with real vehicle design to analyze the components right away. The designs will not have to go through the physical prototype stage, because only the accepted designs will have to be pushed through.
5. Presenting Variants
We already mentioned that AR allows people to test drive the cars. Similarly, the technology allows people to try different variants by creating digital showrooms. So car dealers no longer have to place all the cars in their showroom, as it could be wastage of space, time and eventually, money.
Most of the car buyers research online before they actually purchase one, so companies can leverage the benefit of AR and present them with all the variants that they wish to see. In certain showrooms, like in Hyundai, there are no sales executives because they are bringing the cars to people and not the other way round.
Augmented reality brings several advantages to the automotive industry — by creating a new level of awareness and safety, by helping instructors to teach driving to their students, by making sure the drivers can see the roads well so he/she can drive without mishaps in any kind of terrain, and a lot more. AR is really making huge waves in the automotive industry.
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