Audi has built a remote controlled robot that has a video camera mounted on its head. Audi calls this the Audi Robotic Telepresence (ART).
The idea of allowing the experts to see the car through a camera instead of just telephonic conversation is a smart solution but the hype isn't justified. The technology is being used to connect all the US dealerships with the expert technicians at Audi of America. The robot displays the operator's face on the screen and can move around the vehicle to inspect certain areas. It is attached with a borescope and a handheld camera to provide a better view of the parts which are hard to reach. The robot has been built with the help of VGo Communications.
Audi says that this allows technicians at its American base to inspect and help service vehicles alongside the local service advisors even if they aren't physically present at the location. The technicians might have used other gadgets to monitor the problem remotely earlier but this step provides a standard operating procedure for complex issues. Other manufacturers might be expected to follow suit soon.
Audi ART press release
Maintenance is part of any vehicle ownership experience, and streamlined service visits are crucial predictors of improved customer satisfaction. That is why Audi is launching a first-of-its-kind communications robot to help Audi dealership technicians quickly diagnose and troubleshoot repair issues that they may encounter.
The innovative Audi Robotic Telepresence (ART) provides a one-on-one virtual link that connects dealers across the country with expert technicians at Audi of America. This telepresence allows those technicians to inspect and help service vehicles as if they were standing alongside the local dealer technicians.
This level of service precision is accomplished through ART's physical design: the system is an advanced, remotely controlled robot that displays the operator's face on a screen while permitting the ability to move around the vehicle. ART enables Audi Technical Service teams to interact and converse with service technicians at local dealerships, even while physically in a different location. An attached borescope and handheld camera allow the operator to further inspect engine components and other difficult-to-reach parts of the vehicle.
[To view running video footage of ART please visit: http://audiusanews.com/mediacenter.do?method=viewVideo&videoGalleryTOList=16d25dd9b11769&searchresult]
Audi Technical Assistance consultants will be the primary operators of ART, as well as more regionally based Technical Field Managers. Dealerships with an ART robot simply need a Wi-Fi® connection for a remote Technical Service consultant to access the device using a computer or tablet.
"ART was designed with both Audi technicians and consumers in mind," said Brian Stockton, General Manager, Technical Support, Audi of America. "The device will give local service technicians valuable one-on-one interaction with their counterparts at Audi of America, which will not only benefit the speed and depth of service at the dealer level, but create an improved ownership experience for the customer in general."
Audi of America expects to have ART units in 100 dealers across the U.S.
ART is being tested via a pilot program at the following Audi dealers:
- Audi Minneapolis MN
- Audi Nashua NH
- Audi North Houston TX
- Audi North Scottsdale AZ
- Audi Pembroke Pines FL
- Audi Rochester Hills MI
- Audi Tysons Corner VA
- Barrier Audi WA
- Beechmont Audi OH
- Danbury Audi CT
- New Country Audi CT
- Paul Miller Audi NJ
- Prestige Audi CO
- Rusnak Audi CA
- Santa Monica Audi CA
- Stevens Creek Audi CA
- The Audi Exchange IL
- The Collection Audi - FL
The ART system concept was developed by the Audi Technical Support team in conjunction with VGo Communications, Inc., a provider of robotic telepresence solutions for healthcare, education, and the workplace. The ART user interface system, including the screen, handheld camera, and borescope, is unique to Audi specifications for optimal dealership technical use. ART represents the first step in Audi dealership telepresence. The Audi Technical Support team and VGo Communications are researching new tools and accessories to further improve ART's capabilities.