Auto Brands Like Audi are Using Augmented Reality for Streamlined Logistics Planning
February 12, 2021
In 2020, many industries saw a significant increase of remote interconnectivity and seamless integration to keep businesses running while much of the country was stuck at home. This same pattern of growth took over the auto industry, and many brands jumped on the bandwagon to increase productivity, boost revenue, and reduce costs across the board.
Using augmented reality solutions, Audi is one of the leaders in the industry that has applied the innovative technology to help logistics professionals execute plans efficiently – independent of their physical location.
Eliminating the need for physical workspaces and equipment has been used by Audi to improve product accuracy, cut the need for costly adjustments to physical models, and promote fast innovation across the entire enterprise.
Read on to learn more about how Audi is using augmented reality to increase efficiency in logistics planning.
Increased Planning Efficiency
In addition to saving time, augmented reality is effectively making the automotive workplace safer for everyone involved. Particularly among the logistics team, the application of augmented reality in logistics has led to a reduction in errors over the length of a typical workday by more than 33% among top auto retailers.
By using digital, cloud-enabled files and data, users are able to see each other’s changes and edits in real time. This allows multiple people to work on the same virtual asset, without losing work hours and money as a result of the standard downtime.
Audi, in particular, has taken AR auto technology and ran with it in a huge way. Augmented reality has given off site workers a hands-on way to visualize and assess three-dimensional digital products with a higher level of detail and scrutiny than clay, polymer, or plastic renders.
Additionally, adding realistic tactile elements with the help of inexpensive and accessible wearable equipment allows individual technicians to pick up, rotate, move, or replace fragmental or whole parts of the product sample without a hitch in their workflow.
Since digital testing removes the need to remake, rebuild, and adjust physical products, logistics teams are able to make changes in less time. This has expanded the ability for additional technicians and decision makers to enter the logistic chain with ease, while giving individual specialists more input throughout the entire development process.
While logistics structures are built around the idea of efficiency and resource maximization, no analog functions are immune to redundancy – and this goes for virtually every workplace environment.
Using digital tools like augmented reality provides workers with a higher level of reporting and data generation based on the manipulation of virtual renders. By tracking the lifecycle of logistics objectives, augmented reality systems have helped auto brands to shave hours from each respective employee’s weekly workloads.
Once repetitive or unnecessary tasks have been removed from the workflow, it’s easier and more practical for logistics technicians to apply their efforts elsewhere throughout the production chain. This has the potential to lead to improved accuracy rates, faster product innovation, and even improved employee satisfaction among participating brands.
This use of augmented reality technology has shown that digitization can be used as a powerful tool for business growth and longevity.
As Audi has shown, building an auto brand in the same vein as such an influential tech development will produce an enterprise that can stand the test of time AND innovation standards across the industry as whole.
Cost-Effective Modeling and Testing
Traditionally, auto manufacturers have relied on models and prototypes to handle a wide range of review criteria. Common uses for physical, and often expensive, work samples include:
- Design layout
- Functionality testing
- Safety review
- Bug identification
- Future planning based on corrections
By eliminating the need for an actual product to conduct these tests, auto manufacturers are able to save millions throughout the initiation and execution of new models.
Simulators have proven to be the preferred method of product testing and design generation during the pandemic, but the ease of use has shown why this trend is becoming established as a staple in the industry. Opening up the modeling and testing processes into the digital sphere gives auto brands more bandwidth and creative leeway to develop more models and produce vehicles much quicker than traditional testing methods.
Wearable technology like smart glasses and visual assistance utilizes augmented reality by applying digital elements over the user’s direct line of sight. This is another method that gives specialists a closer look at interior and exterior elements of the car, at the level of the detail they need to get the job done.
Audi has shown the efficacy of these methods by applying augmented reality throughout the manufacturing process. Boosting the research and development lifecycle with readily available digital tools is set to become a standard, and not simply a trend, throughout the entire industry.
Improved Accuracy and Product Development
Working on an expensive physical model of a large product like a motor vehicle comes with its own set of challenges and pitfalls. The auto industry has maintained a significant error margin over the years, with recalls continuing to pepper this field on a regular basis. What if it was easier to prevent bugs and errors in the very beginning?
Just like a digital twin of the product in question, these augmented reality models can be easily understood on the user’s terms. This means that logistics professionals can comb through every element of a prototype with a higher level of detail than ever before.
Augmented reality as a virtual tool emphasizes the need for precise measurements, which can be accurately projected on a screen, through a headset, or holographically onto a physical surface.
This level of detail can be applied to all aspects of the supply chain, including containers, workspaces, accessories, and more. Since it’s fully digital, augmented reality as a manufacturing technique is completely scalable, portable, and applicable anywhere there is a connected network and property authorization from the retailer.
Since there are no physical products to transport and maintain, this aspect of the planning process can relieve a considerable amount of stress from workers throughout the entire car making process.
Working remotely means communicating with internal and external teams without the nuance of face-to-face collaboration. However, traditional digital tools limit the ability for multiple individuals to work together seamlessly from separate networks and devices. Augmented reality bridges the gap, and allows logistics professionals to work better together in a shorter amount of time.
Using multi-device synchronization, augmented reality has the potential to transform the online workplace as we’ve known it. This capability allows specialists along the logistics chain to access digital information from their respective connected devices, streamlining the workday for all levels of management and staff.
Since all of the elements of the production process are stored remotely via cloud-based database systems, multiple users are able to access the same assets simultaneously. This method is more flexible, and much faster than limiting each phase of the testing, design, and initiation processes to a small team of in-house technicians.
Opening up the logistics and planning processes to all necessary parties gives more people input and decision-making power throughout the supply chain. As we’ve seen with AR/VR tech over the last few years, this change alone has the potential to transform the culture and overall success of even the largest auto brands.
Augmented Reality for Space-Saving Production
The use of mixed reality can also be applied to maximize the amount of space available for each individual employee. Those who are working in smaller or shared home office locations are able to project their workstation onto an area of their choice using certain add ons.
CAD design data, presentations, and even live communications can be projected onto a desk or table top using holographic imaging. Rather than working through a headset, this option opens up creative opportunities for all technicians – no matter where they’re working.
Eliminating the need for a spacious group setting is another aspect of augmented reality use that is reducing costs for automotive companies and employees alike.
While augmented reality has been a mainstay in the auto industry for a few years now, Audi has taken the reins by applying this immersive technology to the logistics sphere. Using virtual car configurator, digital render manipulation, and other remote development tools is connecting at-home and in-office specialists like never before.
Whether you’re in the market for a new car or you’re interested in the growth of this groundbreaking technology, Audi has solidified its place on the tech map for the foreseeable future. The growth of immersive imaging and the development of AR/VR technology in the auto industry is set to keep the industry growing rapidly, while expelling common costs at the same time.