Volkswagen rolls out augmented reality headsets in UK

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VCV) in the UK is rolling out augmented reality headsets for technicians across its Van Centre network to help speed up complex repair work. It claims this will deliver potential savings to customers over five years of downtime equal to Stg.£1 million.

The innovative system allows experts based at the Technical Support Centre (TSC) to send precise visual instructions remotely to technicians at Van Centres and Mobile Service Clinics to ensure any maintenance issues can be fixed as quickly and efficiently as possible, minimising the time a van spends off the road.

VCV UK claims that the nationwide rollout follows a successful trial that saved customers a year of downtime, equal to almost £250,000 – with repair efficiency up by 93 per cent. Not having to physically travel also meant a reduction of over 2.5 tonnes of CO2 for the TSC.

What about Ireland?
“This is something we are planning on doing but it is still at the early stage of planning for Ireland,” said Victoria Halton of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland. “The business case for this looks excellent, so we are hopeful of getting this off the ground here.”

Each of the 67 Van Centres and 30 Authorised Repairers across the UK will have access to a pair of the ‘ ealWea’ glasses, which includes microphone, head camera, display screen and voice activation.

If technicians face complex or unusual servicing points – expected to be around 500 across the UK in 2020 – they can use the technology to connect directly with the Technical Support Centre at their head office. The expert is then able to support the field technician through the diagnosis and repair by augmenting images, wiring diagrams and adding repair suggestions into their view.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers a range of vehicles from Caddy to California and Amarok to Crafter, each with a range of powertrain options and bespoke conversions. This means technicians face a raft of servicing variations each day which might require specialist assistance.

David Hanna, Head of Service and Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK, said: “Following a hugely successful trial, we have decided to invest in the augmented reality technology to allow us to support our world class technicians and valued customers alike. As part of our Working With You promise, we are committed to keeping customer vehicles on the road and minimising downtime – this technology provides the perfect solution by reducing the time a van spends in the workshop as well as improving the sustainability of our technical support operation.”