Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft HoloLens 2 show off augmented reality's impact in the automotive...

SamiHA

Posts: 44   +53
Staff member
Forward-looking: The service department can seem like the slowest part of a dealership, especially when it's your car getting worked on. But Mercedes-Benz is infusing its dealerships with AR technology to speed up the diagnosis and repair of tricky and complex issues with its Virtual Remote Support, powered by Microsoft's HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. I visited one of Mercedes' showcases last week to check out the implementation and get some hands-on time with the HoloLens 2.

For customers that bring in a hard-to-solve problem, it was common for Mercedes-Benz to call in a flying doctor, an expert from HQ that would fly in and get hands-on with an issue. That could take days to arrange, not to mention the costs and environmental impacts associated with flying in these technical specialists from all over the country. All the while, the customer is left without their luxury automobile.

While many shoppers go with a Mercedes for the styling and performance, it's the service experience that impacts their future purchases. Long waits could see someone changing brands in the future.

Mercedes is arming all 383 dealerships across the U.S. with this Virtual Remote Assistant, hoping to improve the efficiency of their service bays and keep customers happy.

It all starts with the HoloLens 2, an augmented reality headset with four visible light cameras for head tracking, two infrared cameras for eye tracking, a depth sensor, a five-channel microphone array, and built-in speakers.

The local technician puts on the HoloLens and can then pull up wiring diagrams, schematics, and other details on the headset, so they can refer to them while they're working on the customer's vehicle.

If the problem needs assistance from one of the experts, they can call them and even provide them a visual feed from his headset. The experts see what the technician does, and their face is broadcast in a small portion of the screen. It’s like a futuristic Zoom or Teams meeting call happening in your eyeglasses. Ever helpful, those experts can add arrows, circles, and other notes to help point out important issues.

Using the headset requires little orientation. All you do is put it on and do a short calibration. It follows your eyes and can recognize your hands. You look down and tap your wrist to bring up a menu that allows you to start your work or teleconference. It’s projected onto the glass of the headset but looks like it’s floating in front of you. You can reach out and interact and manipulate the windows with a variety of gestures. It all feels similar to the movie Minority Report and was pretty intuitive to use.

When I was finished goofing around with the headset, Mercedes-Benz representatives explained that the technology has the potential to completely change the service industry. A career that is typically associated with trades work, can now become more digital and high-tech, attracting a whole new demographic of students and employees.

Mercedes boasts that their cars today have more lines of software code than the Space Shuttle, an F-35 fighter jet, and a pacemaker combined. This much functionality means more complexity. So to chase down and resolve any complex issues, the automaker has turned to the HoloLens. Referencing a wiring diagram or schematic that’s projected in 3D space onto the car you’re working on, will help cut down on wasted time.

Furthermore, while automakers boast that electric vehicles will feature fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, these advanced vehicles may still have issues, likely with wiring and digital components. Technicians using HoloLens can chase down these issues quicker than those having to go back and forth between the computer and the car.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t a newbie to AR. The automaker offers an augmented reality navigation system, which broadcasts navigation instructions on top of a video feed from a front-facing camera, all on the dashboard to make it difficult to get lost. With the new S-Class, that information is overlaid right on the windshield with an augmented reality windshield. The automaker sees more opportunities for HoloLens 2. It can be used for sales training or even with customers on the showroom floor, customizing their car before their eyes.

Since the introduction of augmented reality, it seemed destined for this kind of application -- infusing hands-on work and know-how with data to make complex tasks easier. Now that Mercedes is putting it into action, we're looking forward to see just how effective it can be.

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madboyv1

Posts: 1,730   +643
Many of these Hololens units are sitting in the shop being unused ha ha ha. A lot of technicians are very set in their ways and don't even want to bother with it for one, a lot of expected solo functionality has not been developed/completed since they first started pushing them out a couple years ago, and there is no formal training regimen to even get people who would use them up to speed.

I mean the idea itself is pretty cool and can have significant value, but the implementation is just not there, not even close.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 413   +530
It's a Mercedes, they'll need everything they can get as they are JUNK.
Honestly they are the only German Car not junk.

Doesn't mean they don't have their issues. The lower end models without all the fancy crap just tend to go and go. Anything involving non standard suspension setups, and overly complex breaking setups are doomed to fail at some point. Mostly in the 120-200 area. In which for people who own these, is not their problem.

While Base Level BMW's have a hard time making it to 200k without major work. VW is a huge hit or miss, better off getting a ford at that point.

That being said GM makes some of the worst vehicles on the planet reliability wise. Other than truck stuff, their Cars and crossover suv's tend to be worse in nearly every way compared to any other brand. Yet people still buy them.... They don't care if their engine eats oil or cab blower motor makes noises at low speeds all before 60k miles.
 

BadThad

Posts: 729   +812
Really? Compared to what? Mercedes makes amazing cars... If they weren't so expensive, I'd love to own one...
I like Mercedes, I've almost bought used ones a couple of times now. However, their used car quality record is poor and generally riddled with problems, some that can be very expensive. Find a used model you like, then look in the various Mercedes forums on the web - you'll understand what I'm talking about pretty quickly.

Compared to: JAPAN
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,424   +3,738
I like Mercedes, I've almost bought used ones a couple of times now. However, their used car quality record is poor and generally riddled with problems, some that can be very expensive. Find a used model you like, then look in the various Mercedes forums on the web - you'll understand what I'm talking about pretty quickly.

Compared to: JAPAN
But you simply claimed that they were junk... new Mercedes are fantastic... a used car having issues is usually the fault of the previous owner - not the original manufacturer.

I'd take a new SL500 over a new Lexus or Acura any day...
 

BadThad

Posts: 729   +812
But you simply claimed that they were junk... new Mercedes are fantastic... a used car having issues is usually the fault of the previous owner - not the original manufacturer.

I'd take a new SL500 over a new Lexus or Acura any day...

So, a used car that has the starter, alternator or a myriad of other parts fail is the previous owners fault, huh? I guess they shouldn't be building those failing parts in their garage and installing them into their Mercedes? That's new to me. Thanks for the tidbit of worthless wisdom.

Mercedes hasn't made the SL 500 is a LONG, LONG time. Good luck with finding a new one! You're just a fountain of knowledge!
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,424   +3,738
So, a used car that has the starter, alternator or a myriad of other parts fail is the previous owners fault, huh? I guess they shouldn't be building those failing parts in their garage and installing them into their Mercedes? That's new to me. Thanks for the tidbit of worthless wisdom.

Mercedes hasn't made the SL 500 is a LONG, LONG time. Good luck with finding a new one! You're just a fountain of knowledge!
Try a study of how long Mercedes last - not reselling - just how long the original owners keep their cars... They tend to last 15 years+... that's a heck of a lot better than the typical Ford/GM/Chrysler... and on par with anything from Japan...

And yes, I know they haven't made the SL500 in awhile - but I REALLY REALLY like that car :)
 

BadThad

Posts: 729   +812
Try a study of how long Mercedes last - not reselling - just how long the original owners keep their cars... They tend to last 15 years+... that's a heck of a lot better than the typical Ford/GM/Chrysler... and on par with anything from Japan...

And yes, I know they haven't made the SL500 in awhile - but I REALLY REALLY like that car :)
The ONLY reason they stick around is the owners are WILLING to pay the constant repair costs on an expensive car and they can likely afford to pay. It has NOTHING to do with reliability. To say ANY German car has reliability on par with a Japanese car is pure insanity.

As far as new cars, Mecedes is found at the BOTTOM of the list:


2018


Used cars: