Porsche dealerships using augmented reality to diagnose and repair cars

Smartglasses aren’t just for gamers anymore. Augmented reality technology is helping Porsche technicians across the country diagnose and repair cars that come in for service. Using internet-connected smartglasses, technicians can search for technical documents and, if needed, chat with the brand’s experts while they repair a car to reduce service times by up to 40 percent.

The technology allows the team of in-house experts working close to Porsche’s headquarters in Atlanta to take a picture of a page in a service manual, for example, and send it to the technician in real time. High-resolution video footage ensures the expert and the technician see the same part of the car, so the former can help the latter locate a sensor or explain the process of testing a component to determine whether it’s faulty. Experts can also run error codes while the technician continues to work on the car.

Porsche explains that this new technology — built around ODG R-7 glasses and Atheer’s AiR Enterprise software platform — saves a tremendous amount of time, especially when technicians need to solve complex or unusual issues. It eliminates the need for multiple phone calls, back-and-forth emails, and time-consuming on-site visits. It’s hands-free, too, and allows the technician can open documents sent by an expert three time zones away while working.

Owners might never get to see the technology in action, but they’ll benefit from it because their car will spend less time in the service bay and more time on the road. And it’s not limited to a specific model or model year — at least not in theory. Technicians can request step-by-step instructions for a new Cayenne, a 986-generation Boxster, or a 912 from the late 1970s.

“Tech Live Look is the kind of digital innovation Porsche values because it raises the quality of the customer experience. By solving issues faster, our dealer partners can get their customers back into cars with less disruption. And our overall service quality increases as we share expertise more efficiently between our experts and [the] dealer technician,” explained Klaus Zellmer, the president and CEO of Porsche’s North American division, in a statement.

This marks the first time augmented reality has entered the world of car repair on a large-scale basis. Porsche began evaluating Tech Live Look by launching several pilot programs in 2017. They were successful, so three of the company’s 189 American dealers started using the technology in late May. The company hopes to roll out Tech Live Look across at least 75 dealerships by the end of 2018 and sign up the rest of its network through 2019.

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