The automotive industry is one of the world’s biggest industries with increasing global manufacturing and sales every day. Rise of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, where all fields need to consider their effects on the future and be both sustainable and satisfactory, forced the automotive sector, like all sectors, to meet the contemporary needs of society. Regulations that governments consider to realize in the near future, like banning gas and diesel-based cars in large cities and society’s demands for new, safer, and more digitalized features, move designers and engineers to make more complex cars. As technology significantly affects them, automotive companies are faced with a lot of challenges in the use of digital components in almost all aspects of manufacturing, maintenance, sales, and service while trying to fulfill these high demands.
Large manufacturing operations heading to a significant amount of delay and downtime costs, along with maintenance and training costs, force the automotive industry to use advanced technologies to shorten production time, improve efficiency, and save costs while being safe and sustainable. In the past decade, automotive companies have already started to incorporate digital technologies like 3D printing, mobile advancement, cloud, and virtual systems into their working process to expand traditional barriers and be key players in Industry 4.0. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most practical examples of these advanced technologies, and it offers a great deal of improvement for the automotive industry. We can say that all progressive companies use AR in their businesses and are eager to find more areas that this new technology can be used to get ahead of the competition.
AR combines the real and digital world, which gives the automotive industry new possibilities in every step of the process chain. From digitization, converting analog information to digital platforms, to more efficient production and service operations, automotive companies and their workers can highly benefit from using AR. Still, they are not the only ones who can have the perks; the drivers can also have a better experience by using AR-based manuals or virtual navigation.
Engineering and Design
Businesses need to consider using AR in every area they can to expand and evolve their work in the automotive industry. Designers and engineers can use AR in the designing process by overlaying virtual images on real models and evaluating different options to have a better and faster layout.
The increase in electric and hybrid cars makes operation processes harder because the batteries used in these cars are powerful and need to be managed carefully. The need for more knowledgeable workers will arise with these increases. And to have an insightful workforce, the training processes must be improved. Replacing traditional paper-based training processes with AR-based interactive and more practical training can be the solution. Workers can have more ways to learn and get the right information faster through virtual training, thus becoming more conscious.
As the time to repair and downtime costs are still some of the biggest problems that automotive companies face, the manufacturing and maintenance operations need improvement as well. By using AR, access to the right information can become a lot easier. Using tools like smart glasses, the workers can quickly and safely get the information they need without even removing their work gloves or moving away from the place they need to work on, and they can use both hands without getting distracted from the task.
Remote assistance and collaboration are the new normal for most industries today, so service may be one of the best areas to use AR. Remote support, especially with AR, allows experts to have immediate access to the latest tasks and guide service field workers without geographical boundaries. The need to fly someone in for a specific problem and the time and money costs of this process is no longer the subject of most companies. When faced with a problem in the field, workers can use pre-recorded AR Guidance videos or fix the problem in remote collaboration with any expert at any time. These remote collaborations decrease the cost of stopped productions while allowing experts to use their time more effectively without the need for relocation.
Better Experience for Owners
Though the automotive companies highly profit using AR applications, the applications are not only for them but also for the end-customers. Car owners can do self-assisted maintenance work with the AR Guidance tools that the companies provide for them. With these AR Guidance tools, drivers can learn and understand more about their cars and have better driving experiences.
Marketing and Sales
Customers can have a better buying experience as well. They don’t need to visit a showroom to examine a car; instead, they can use AR applications and test drive in augmented reality. People can see and buy the vehicles they want from their own houses by just using their smartphones to change the looks and features with the AR tools. This experience will be a cheaper, easier, and definitely more memorable way to influence the customers. Some of the automotive companies already use this as a marketing and sales tool to outdo their competitors.
Without a doubt, AR technology will add another dimension in the way we use cars and the way that those cars are made. It will surely be a beneficial and effective way to improve the automotive industry. Therefore automotive companies can and should transform their way of working by adopting AR to speed up problem-solving, influence data quality, reduce waste and costs, and improve their safety and efficiency in all areas to keep up with the competition in Industry 4.0.
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