As cars become more intricate, so does their repair process. With so many instruments and components to deal with, dealerships sometimes aren’t equipped to repair advanced issues. To cut down on the turnaround time for customers, Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Microsoft to integrate Hololens 2 augmented-reality (AR) headsets into their repair process.
This collaboration started in 2019 in the U.S.. While wearing a Hololens 2 headset powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, a technician can receive real-time assistance from a remote specialist. The specialist can also share diagrams, pictures, and videos on the technician’s heads-up display to guide them through the repair process. The camera on the headset provides the specialist with a detailed, real-time view of the issue.
Watch the video to see the system in action
All these things sound as though they could be done through a Zoom call, but incorporating Hololens 2 into the technician’s workflow frees up their hands. All the information needed is readily available without hopping back and forth to a PC. The information shared is richer too; not only can the information be arranged in a 3D space, but the specialist can also share manipulable 3D holograms to explain the issue.
Another benefit is in cutting down on wait times for a specialist. Previously, if a dealership encountered an extensive abnormality, a specialist would need to travel to the location to examine the problem in person. Depending on the location, that could take days. The richer information afforded by the Hololens 2 headset reduces the need for specialists to be on-site. Mercedes-Benz said in a press briefing that issues that would take days or weeks to fix can now be solved within a matter of hours.
To adopt the technology, Mercedes-Benz did not need to set up a separate division for remote assistance. They only had to bring their current engineers up to speed on how to integrate technology into their workflow.
Adopting AR potentially can improve purchasing experiences as well. For example, instead of showcasing a vehicle in person, a salesperson could remotely present a car to a potential buyer. Using Hololens’ augmented reality functions, they could tweak the appearance of the vehicle in real-time, for example changing its color.
With this announcement, all 59 Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Canada will adopt Hololens 2 as a part of their troubleshooting and repair processes. The company said it’s already seeing great benefits from the adoption, although it declined to disclose specific figures as it’s still in the observation phase.