Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are being inventive in their ways to reduce downtime of customer vehicles with the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR), which is being used on a trial basis in the form of special glasses called ‘RealWear’.
There will be a four month trial period in 10 different van centres across the UK which will see technicians wearing the RealWear glasses, each fitted with a microphone, display screen, head camera and voice activation functionality.
The implementation of the RealWear glasses will allow technicians to directly connect with experts at Volkswagen’s central technical support centre, who will then be able to see exactly what the technician is seeing meaning the technical support centre can guide them through any complex repairs.
They are capable of doing this both by talking them through the procedure and also by sending images with diagrams, displayed virtually via the glasses in front of the technician.
Volkswagen says the new technology could significantly reduce service time and if the trial is proved a success then it will be rolled out to all the companies UK technicians from June 2018.
Paul Anderson, service operations manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “This is an exciting step forward in maximising uptime for our customers through the use of augmented reality and remote diagnostic tools.
“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 the workshop.
“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 real thing – without the limitations.
“Factors such as time out of the office, speed to booking and travel time are stripped out.
“Through the reduction of diagnostic times we will have a direct impact on mobility costs which takes pressure off courtesy fleets and opens up additional capacity within the Van Centre to become more productive.”
John McNally, service director at the Cordwallis Volkswagen Van Centre, is a part of the team involved in the pilot programme.
He said: “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.”