Augmented Reality in Automotive

Growing applications of Augmented Reality, now finding way into automotive.

augmented reality

Augmented Reality in Automotive

The most general definition of Augmented reality (AR) can be stated as it’s a vision of the world we live in,the real-world environment whose elements have been  “augmented”( been made greater in size or value) by computer-generated/extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is akin to a more casual concept known as computer-mediated reality, that gives a view of real life in a modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) manner by a computer. It provides a composite view over the user’s view of the real world using a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image.

Ever saw a science-fiction movie like the Iron Man trilogy and wondered to have a J.A.R.V.I.S of your own?Well, no more as Augmented Reality Is literally bringing the showroom on a platter to you and is giving life to all our imaginations. Also, not to mention, it’s the very thing that is currently driving the automotive industry by providing incredible customer experiences. Companies like BMW and  Volkswagen are investing in innovative concepts used for training their employees and serving customers by mixing reality system into the vehicle development, making operating the same as easy as playing a game.

So, basically, it takes our current reality and adds something to it. It does not move us elsewhere. It simply “augments” our current state of presence, often with clear visors.

So how is it different from Virtual reality you say?

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real-life environment or situation.In easy words, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.

It may be used to create an imaginary reality for gaming, entertainment, or enhance your experience of video and computer games or 3D movies. Simulators for pilots, or that bike you sit on every time you go to a game-plex are a few examples of its many applications.

Augmented reality (AR) basically enhances one’s current perception of reality.It layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful. AR is developed into apps and is used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world.

Simply put the difference can be understood by a film reference made in an article on The Economist:“If virtual reality is “The Matrix”, then Augmented Reality is “Terminator.”


The benefits of Augmented Reality in Automotive.

Here are some noted advantages of AR in the automotive industry:

  1. The Design Stage of the Vehicle

The perfect vehicle is manufactured in the design phase. It is then when the time and many complexities of the automobile are reduced. AR plays a crucial role during the early stages providing an added advantage to the manufacturers by giving them the exact picture of how the car will perform once it gets on the road beforehand.

Again, Volkswagen is at the forefront in this aspect too. It’s spatial augmented reality to compare virtual data with the real vehicle design to analyze the components right away.Well, now we know the reasons behind their classic designs.

2. Service & Support. 

Automobiles are growing not only in numbers but in complexity as well. So the service employees should be pretty aware of how to service the vehicles in the right manner. To help manage the growing complexity of vehicles, servicing professionals must be guided on their work activities.

Workers are given step by step instructions on how to perform the specific tasks, which tools are to be used, how to use them, how to assemble the parts, the right configuration and so on.

Already implemented by Volkswagen cars through MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) where real and virtual parts are shown in a three-dimensional way, including their co-relation with each other.

  1. The Driver-less Driving.

Through AR, Test Drives without Actually Being in the Vehicle is made possible. One can drive their favorite automobiles without actually being physically present in it.

The automaker giants like Volkswagen and  Jaguar are all in the race to make their products more AR-driven.

An app was launched by Volkswagen making it possible for their customers to actually undertake an AR-based test drive through three-dimensional effects without keeping a foot inside, whereas, a smartphone camera was used by Jaguar Range Rover to achieve the same.

The user can see the world outside the window from the car’s perspective giving them the full-blown experience of driving the car. The user can also see the rest of the car by moving it 360 degrees.

This makes possible for the user to, with a smartphone camera and an Android app, have a test drive of the car they always wanted.And all this from comfort of their own room.

The only disadvantage I can come up in doing all this is not even visiting a showroom will just make us lazy, but well, whom am I kidding that’s something we already are!


4. The driver’s cut?

Most people don’t sweat about how their vehicle is manufactured or designed. Instead, they make a purchase decision based on many factors, including the level of technology and available features and this gesture driven tech is not only beneficiary to the driver for numerous reasons but also bridges the gap between the less known technologies and the less aware users. For instance, it allows the driver to process important data, all without having to take his or her eyes off the road as the first things we are seeing is the display of information on windshields. This can be considered a safety feature and consumers are expected to gravitate towards this technology.

All in All, though Initially, use of augmented reality in new vehicles may appear trendy, but over time, like everything else, this becomes a part of the system.


AR in Action

Major OEM’s pushing Augmented Reality technologies:

Toyota: it produced working concepts of their AR system that would allow passengers to zoom in on objects outside of the car, select and identify objects, as well as view the distance of an object from the car using a touch-screen window.

BMW: launched a visualization tool on Google Play that allows users to explore different options on its latest models.

Hyundai: created an augmented reality app that acts as a user’s manual—identifying components of the vehicle and instructing the user on how to perform maintenance.

Mercedes-Benz: they offer a rescue assist app that tells first responders about the vehicle—especially where it is safe or not safe to cut.

That being mentioned, it’s also important to comprehend that the use of AR is not limited to high-end luxury cars. In 2012, a Delhi start-up designed an AR app for Maruti Suzuki’s Alto 800 promotions—letting users sift through videos, book a test drive, and discuss the car on social media.

Augmented reality may not be here yet, but if these car companies have their way, we’ll be seeing it in our future cars are just a little way down the road.

Final Words.

While many industries are beginning to embrace augmented reality, it’s really starting to come into its own in the automotive space.

Augmented reality brings several advantages to the automotive industry — by creating a new level of awareness and safety, by helping instructors to teach driving to their students and a lot more. Although, AR is really making huge waves in the automotive industry, when you consider how large the automotive industry is, it’s easy to see that the use of augmented reality has plenty of room to make its presence felt. Or as the CEO of Apple ,Tim Cook,  said Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it’s profound.


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