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VW’s augmented-reality app moves amateur mechanics out from under the shade tree


Volkswagen's MARTA app shows users what parts to replace and the tools required in order to complete a repair order.

Ever wondered how automotive technicians are able work on every single car from a brand – or several brands, for that matter? The answer involves lots of training and online step-by-step instruction repair manuals.

That is, until now.

Let me introduce you to what I believe is the future for not only dealership-based automotive repair but also at-home, do-it-yourself repair. The system is called MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) and it is going to revolutionize the repair industry.

Developed by Volkswagen, MARTA uses the built-in camera on a tablet device to display service information for a vehicle in real time. Specifically, the system was developed for the Volkswagen XL1.

When MART is activated, it projects an image on the tablet screen over the live image of the vehicle, as you can see in the video below. Going step by step, MARTA shows the technician the steps and tools required to complete a service or repair job.

In the video, we see that MARTA shows a torque wrench is needed to loosen a part of the front clip on the VW XL1.

I come from an automotive repair background. Not having to turn around and dig through an antiquated computer program for repair steps every couple minutes, forced to decipher poorly rendered black and white images, would have been a godsend during my mechanic days.

Sadly, for now, the MARTA only works for the Volkswagen XL1.

I am sure, however, that in a matter of a few years, this technology will expand across the new car field. It can then trickle down to the aftermarket, which will be ideal for tech-savvy shade tree mechanics like me.

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