New technological developments are shaping the automotive industry. Think of the electric and self-driving cars. Augmented Reality (AR) is also an example of this. In this article I will describe the realization and developments of AR that will change the automotive industry.
While AR is already widely adopted in the gaming sector, it is still at an early stage of its development in the automotive industry. However, leading companies have picked up on its potential. Below I will explain how different aspects of the automotive industry make use of AR technology. These range from assistance for the car manufacturers to the sales process of car retail.
Let’s start with digital showrooms. Simply put, car dealerships use AR to project virtual cars in an effort to replace the regular catalogue. Traditionally, customers only get to see the cars that are physically present. AR gives access to different types, colours and features, which helps with the upselling of products. The car is projected in an open space so customers can view it from different angles. This results in a customized, immersive and memorable customer experience.
Besides the showrooms, AR assists the car manufacturing sector. Specifically when it comes to complex tasks such as design, prototyping and assembling. Additionally, the technology can give critical information for car repairs.
The main issue of the design and prototype phase is building the physical models. It takes lots of time and effort. Instead of physically building these, manufacturers are building them digitally. If certain components do not meet requirements, they can be digitally improved. Applying changes digitally is a way faster procedure than rebuilding the components manually. For this reason, we can state that AR improves productivity.
A product that’s used for this is Microsoft’s Hololens. The Hololens enables users to project digital elements, and even interact with them. If this sounds a bit vague, have a look at the video below. It explains how the Hololens was used for a partnership with Ford.
Another process that AR improves is car assembly. During this process, manufacturers need to pay attention to the finest details. AR smart glasses provide on the spot assistance, even with real time instruction videos. This doesn’t just speed up the process, but also minimizes man-made mistakes.
The same goes for car repairs. With the use of smart glasses or tablets, the technicians have access to virtual instructions. An example of this is Tech Live Look, launched by Porsche in 2017. This program allowed technicians to use smart glasses and be in direct contact with a support center. The support experts see exactly what the technicians see and guide them through the repair process. Porsche stated that the connection of the dealership and remote experts can shorten service resolution times by up to 40%.
Besides advantages for the sales and manufacturing processes, AR also has implications for the regular driver like you and I. The driver’s experience completely changes with the help of an AR feature called head-up displays (HUDs). HUDs are placed on the car’s windshield and project digital information in the eyesight of the driver. Originally, the technology was created for military fighter jets. However, the popularity is increasing in the automotive industry.
As the use of head-up displays in the automotive industry is relatively new, it is still in development. Overall, the HUDs that are now available for users, provide a small-sized and low resolution image. This means that the user experience isn’t optimal.
As the user experience isn’t optimal, car companies are in full swing of developing full windshield HDUs, which enhance the driver’s experience and safety. General Motors was the first to install the displays in cars. These days, brands such as BMW, Citroën, Toyota and many more have installed HUDs in at least one of their models.
So what kind of information can a head-up display show? Related to mobility, it can show a lot. Have a look at some examples below.
According to Markets and the Markets research, the automotive head-up displays market is expected to grow from $866 million in 2020 to $3,372 billion in 2025. This is an impressive value increase of more than 30%.
This large increase of HUDs already indicates how AR is getting more and more important for this sector. Whether it is implemented through HUDs, digital showrooms or in the car manufacturing and repair area, AR is extremely promising.