The machines are coming … to rotate your tires. Audi uses robots to streamline servicing

2015 Audi A7

The machines are coming … to rotate your tires.

Robots have been building cars for some time, but Audi thinks they can also speed up the process of maintenance.

The Audi Robotic Telepresence (ART) system provides a “virtual link” that connects dealers with technicians at Audi of America’s headquarters. The German carmaker claims this will allow said technicians to inspect and help service vehicles as if they were standing in the dealer’s garage.

ART is actually a variation of the VGo robots that have already deployed in a few workplaces and schools. Like those devices, ART is essentially a camera and monitor on a stick that can wheel itself around at the behest of a remote operator.

Mechanics may have trouble getting used to conversing with a mobile iPad, but until hologram technology is perfected, this is probably about as good as remote interfacing will get.

The ghosts in these rudimentary shells will be consultants from Audi Technical Assistance – which typically handles customer service issues – and regional Technical Field Managers.

The whole thing seems a bit gimmicky, although ART may prove useful in situations where a local dealer technician can’t diagnose a problem. Sometimes, showing is easier than telling.

Audi hopes to put ART in 100 dealerships across the U.S., but it will first test the concept with a pilot program at 18 dealers in 12 states.

So the next time you take your Audi for an oil change, don’t be surprised if you see a few robots scurrying around like droids on the Death Star.

Deals

Clean with a robot vacuum and save $160 on the Ecovacs Deebot, today only

Investing in smart home technology can usually come with a hefty price tag. If you were thinking of getting a robot vacuum, now is your chance. The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is one of our favorite budget-friendly robot vacuums and is currently on…
Gaming

‘Overwatch’ gunslinger Ashe is now available on all platforms

Blizzard announced Ashe as the latest Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2018. The gunslinger has a history with McCree and makes use of a lever-action repeating rifle and a robotic sidekick.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.
Cars

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.
Cars

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?
Cars

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.
Cars

Honda will squeeze another model into its SUV lineup at the Los Angeles show

Honda will introduce a new SUV with a familiar nameplate at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. It envisioned the 2019 Passport as a five-seater alternative to the eight-seater Pilot. The two models will share a platform and many tech features.
Cars

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.