Smart Glasses Aid Porsche Techs

Augmented reality is coming to U.S. car repairs at Porsche dealerships across the country.

Porsche Cars North America has begun rolling out Tech Live Look to its 189 U.S. dealers. The system connects technicians to remote experts via smart glasses for a live interaction that the company says can shorten service resolution times by up to 40 percent.

Tech Live Look combines computerized eyewear and augmented reality software to allow remote experts hundreds of miles away to see what a service technician is seeing and provide feedback while the technician works hands-free. The system uses ODG (Osterhout Design Group) R-7 smart glasses and the AiR Enterprise software platform from Atheer Inc.

“Tech Live Look is the kind of digital innovation Porsche values because it raises the quality of the customer experience,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of PCNA. “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 dealer technicians.”

A complex or unusual technical issue could go back and forth repeatedly between a dealership and the PCNA technical support team, sometimes taking multiple electronic messages, phone calls, photos and even onsite visits by Porsche’s field technical managers to identify and diagnose the issue for repair.

Tech Live Look substantially shortens and enhances that chain of communication, the company says. A service technician at a dealership, for example in Los Angeles, dons the smart glasses and connects through the software with the Atlanta-based Porsche technical support team 2,200 miles away. Via high-definition live video from the glasses, the support team sees exactly what the technician is seeing.

The expert in turn can project step-by-step technical bulletins and schematic drawings onto the display inside the technician’s glasses, as well as take screen shots and enlarge images for better visibility. The technician can open and view documents while working hands-free on the car.

After successful pilots in 2017, the system is expected to be active at 75 U.S. dealers by the end of the year and at most remaining outlets in 2019.

The automotive industry has been experimenting with augmented reality technical support, but analysts say Tech Live Look is the first application at scale in U.S. auto repair, according to Porsche. In April, Tech Live Look won a Best-in-Class Award from the annual Field Service USA conference.

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