Ford is taking its vehicle repairs into the future. The auto-maker rolling out augmented reality tech to dealerships to help speed up the repair process. Using its RealWear HMT-1 Hands-free remote collaboration tool, Ford dealership technicians can connect directly with the company’s Technical Assistance Centre, allowing for collaboration among repair experts to get customers on the road again, faster.
Ford enters virtual space
It’s similar to the way doctors are using Microsoft’s Hololens to collaborate during surgeries. Dealership technicians put on the wearable AR kit and connect to highly experienced Technical Assistance Centre staff members. Using the RealWear’s HD camera, torch, and a few microphones and voice-activated controls, the dealership technician can explain exactly what technical issues they’re struggling with or require assistance to fix.
Ford’s Technical Assistance Centre engineer can also control the camera, take pictures, and even provide useful diagrams and information screens for the technician to view through the RealWear headset, allowing them to access whatever information they need while continuously working on a damaged vehicle. You can check out a video of the whole process here.
Normally, if a technical issue proved too difficult for a dealership technician to fix alone, they would have to physically send the vehicle to a Technical Assistance Centre, which lengthens the repair process. The RealWear potentially cuts down on that time by allowing for virtual collaboration, and is also particularly useful for Ford dealerships in remote areas, who would otherwise have a hard time connecting to the Technical Assistance Centre.
Ford’s system also logs each case into an expanding database for future reference, which gives dealerships access to previous incidents and issues and how they were resolved. Kinda like an online forum where someone else has already experienced your weird Windows driver issue.
“We need to keep modernising what we do and how we do things,” said Pieter Verster, Service Engineering Operations director of Ford Middle East and Africa in a press release. “RealWear represents a significant step forward in better supporting our dealers, and most crucially, our customers”.