Taking your car to the mechanic can be an extremely annoying and anxiety-ridden process. Someone doing some exploratory wrenching underneath your hood can feel like ages. Although conversations with mechanics can be vague and laborious, they could be coming to an end, at least for Mercedes-Benz owners. Mercedes-Benz is putting down the torque wrench and picking up some VR goggles and blasting off to the future.
According to Autoweek, Mercedes has announced a new system within its service department called Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support. It allows the mechanic to wear HoloLens 2 VR goggles running Dynamics 365 Remote Assist software that connects to an expert service representative who can see what the mechanic sees. This new tech should save time and money for the Mercedes-Benz service departments. Before the VR Support program, these specialist service reps would be required to travel and be there in person to help solve specific issues.
How the new Mercedes-Benz tech works
The technician with the vehicle is wearing the VR glasses, which are the result of a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft. The expert tech is somewhere far away, seeing what the in-person technician sees. In real-time, they can highlight an area that they want the tech to look at in the head-up display (HUD) of the VR Goggles. It’s basically the Zoom “present screen” of real life.
According to Autoweek, the Vice President of Customer Service for Mercedes-Benz, Christian Treiber, speaks highly of the new program, saying, “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.”
Testing and application
This new VR support system has been testing in Germany for over two years. With the limitations of travel due to COVID-19, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Mercedes-Benz rolled out the program across 383 U.S. dealers in August, making this sci-fi service a reality.
Tech like this seems to be exactly the type of thing that 2020 needs. A hands-free, digital sharing/teaching system that allows both parties to see and experience what the other is seeing and share visual cues in real-time.
Beam me up, Mercedes
Aside from the health and safety benefits of the expert techs not having to travel during a pandemic, Mercedes-Benz says the main goal of the VR support is to speed up troubleshooting and consequently, repair times. VR support allows the dealership service departments to increase workflow and get cars back on the road faster.
It is clear that Mercedes-Benz has both its eyes fixed on the future. The VR tech doesn’t end with the service department. Mercedes is implementing VR showrooms, test drives, and 360-degree interactive VR short films. We are just starting to scratch the surface of VR potential, but something tells me Mercedes-Benz is ready to scratch a little deeper.