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

tech savvy mechanics vws new tablet app gives interactive repair instructions marta
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.

Cars

Prepare to procrastinate: The 2020 Toyota Supra online configurator is now live

The Toyota Supra is back, and even if you can't afford one, you can still design your ideal version of the reborn sports car in Toyota's online configurator. It's a great way to procrastinate.
Cars

Tesla drops cheapest Model S and Model X versions in latest lineup reshuffle

Tesla dropped entry-level Standard Range versions of the Model S and Model X in yet another model shake-up. That leaves just the Long Range and Performance versions of the luxury electric cars.
Cars

Ford and Roush built a Mustang inspired by a legendary WWII fighter plane

Ford and tuner Roush teamed up to build a one-off 2019 Mustang GT inspired by the P-51 Mustang World War II fighter plane. The car will be auctioned off to benefit programs run by the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Cars

Lotus Evija electric supercar is bursting with cutting-edge tech

The Lotus Evija is the latest in a steadily growing crop of electric supercars. Lotus is aiming for 2,000 horsepower, with the fastest-charging battery of any electric car so far.
Cars

You won’t believe how quickly Red Bull changed all four tires on this F1 car

Red Bull has just bagged the record for the fastest pit-lane stop in the history of F1 racing. The team changed all four tires on the racing car in just 1.91 seconds at the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Deals

Walmart extends its Prime Day deals on Schwinn, Razor and Hyper E-Ride ebikes

Amazon Prime Day 2019 may have passed but Walmart doesn't care. Walmart's Google Week and Big Save summer sale continue with excellent deals on five ebikes including two each from Schwinn and Hyper E-Ride and an electric Razor Metro.
Product Review

The 2020 Alpina B7 is a BMW 7 Series crossed with a bullet train

Alpina began making hot-rodded BMWs years before anyone heard of an M5. Digital Trends traveled to scenic Bavaria to put the B7, its flagship model, through its paces on a variety of roads.
Cars

Playing Forza inspired this gamer to 3D-print a Lamborghini for his son

Lamborghini charges about $400,000 for an Aventador S, so Colorado physicist Sterling Backus decided to make one in his garage for $20,000. Working with his son, he is painstakingly 3D-printing the supercar's body panels.
Cars

AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the difference between the two and which is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.
Cars

Manual vs. automatic vs. CVT: Different types of transmissions explained

From automatic to manual to CVT, there are several types of transmissions in the automotive world. In the battle of automatic versus manual, which wins? We'll help you pick the right gearbox for you.
Cars

There is no way to say pickup truck in emoji, and Ford wants to change that

Ford asked the Unicode Consortium to include a pickup truck in the database of emojis. The company is confident its request will be approved, and a blue pickup truck loosely shaped like an F-150 will be available in early 2020.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Mobile

Uber’s in-car shopping service now sells way more than just snacks

The Cargo Box launched in 2018 to offer Uber drivers an easy way to sell snacks and drinks to riders. The service is now expanding to include lots more items, including tech products and travel accessories.
Cars

The last two affordable station wagons in America are about to retire

Volkswagen confirmed it will stop making the Golf Sportwagen and the Golf Alltrack by the end of 2019. Both station wagons are at the end of their life cycle, but they won't be replaced because they compete in a shrinking segment of the…