Cars are highly complicated machines which are only getting more intricate as new technologies are implemented. This means mechanics need to have a continually expanding set of skills yet they’ll always need external support to help diagnose and fix problems. To aid in this process, Mercedes-Benz USA has collaborated with Microsoft to utilise its mixed reality (MR) HoloLens 2 for automotive maintenance.
Called Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support the system combines HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist so that dealership technicians can talk with Mercedes-Benz technical specialists whilst being able to work hands-free.
The system aims to decrease the time it takes to solve technical questions, with the remote specialist being able to see exactly what the technician does. They can then provide both audible and visual support, the latter with 3D holograms and other visual cues such as arrows or circling particular areas of interest.
“This is a massive shift in the way we do business – helping us to serve our customers more quickly – and is especially timely with the new realities of COVID-19 and our desire to keep employees safe,” said Christian Treiber, Vice President of Customer Services at MBUSA in a statement. “Today’s vehicles feature more than 100 million lines of software code. Through our partnership with Microsoft, we have a new paradigm for technology support and communication that helps our dealers and technicians master the complexity of these vehicles while eliminating travel time and onsite visits. It’s like having an expert on your shoulder.”
Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support initially piloted the programme at 12 dealerships and it’s now been rolled out to all 383 dealerships across the US. While the US is the only country Mercedes-Benz is currently running this mixed reality system in, the company does plan on eventually going global.
“I’m thrilled by the transformation made possible by our partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA. By leveraging HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Mercedes-Benz USA has seen rapid time to value, moving from proof of concept to broad deployment in a matter of months,” said Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications and Global Industry Marketing, Microsoft. “Microsoft is honoured to be part of Mercedes-Benz USA’s disruption of the automotive industry and change the way they provide services for their customers.”
This is just the latest way immersive technology is being used by enterprise to remotely collaborate. 2020 has seen an influx of solutions both specialist like SkyReal to more general apps such as Spatial.