Every dealership service department knows the situation: A customer’s vehicle has an unfamiliar or complicated problem that can’t be promptly diagnosed and fixed.
The standard response: time-consuming examination of possibly outdated service manuals, potentially lengthy correspondence with the automaker, even a visit from a factory technician. All the while, the car or truck sits idle in the shop.
But new technologies are speeding the resolution of these problems. Service techs at some Audi and Porsche dealerships can call on a factory tech to join them, virtually.
Through the use of connected devices such as robots at Audi and augmented reality glasses at Porsche, the automakers’ specialists enter the service bay via connected cameras and microphones. Their virtual aid means fewer in-person tech visits, shorter work turnarounds, and more-satisfied customers.
“Our job is to get out there and support the dealer as quickly as possible,” says Jamie Dennis, senior vice president of product quality and technical service at Audi of America.
With the Audi Robotic Telepresence, or ART, system, Dennis told Fixed Ops Journal, “we can be there in minutes to hours.”
Audi’s system was the first initiative by a North American automaker to connect dealership service bays directly with experts at the company’s technical center.
Working with the robotic telepresence company VGo, Audi developed ART — a mobile robot equipped with microphones, cameras and a TV screen.
The system can connect with onboard diagnostic devices in vehicles. It enables experts at Audi’s tech center in Auburn Hills, Mich., to see everything the dealership tech does, discuss diagnosis and repair options and link up with the vehicle for software updates.
Note: VGo is a product of Vecna Technologies and Vecna Robotics