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AR in the Automotive Production Process

AR in the Automotive Production Process

September 22, 2021

The automotive industry is constantly changing as a result of new technologies. The automotive industry often uses innovative technologies to provide new in-vehicle services or features. But sometimes, automotive manufacturers use new technologies behind the scenes instead. A recent example of this is augmented reality technology, which automotive manufacturers are now using to improve the vehicle production process from start to finish.  What is augmented reality? How does the automotive industry use augmented reality? Here’s what you should know about AR in the automotive production process: WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality is a technology that allows users to superimpose various digital elements onto their surroundings in the real world. Users can choose from a wide range of digital elements, including images, audio clips, and videos. In simpler terms, it changes the user’s perception of the real world by adding elements from the digital world to it. Some augmented reality experiences can only be accessed using a headset or a pair of specially designed glasses. However, many augmented reality experiences can be accessed using just a smartphone or tablet. In fact, the most well-known application of augmented reality is Pokemon Go, which is a smartphone app that launched in 2016.  Although augmented reality is often associated with gaming, it has many other applications outside of the gaming world. Now, it is used in countless fields, including the automotive, healthcare, education, retail, ecommerce, and tourism industries.  AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTION PROCESS Augmented reality is used for a number of different purposes in the automotive production process, including: * Employee Training * Workstation Planning * Designing New Vehicles * Manufacturing  * Route Guiding Automotive Production Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Employee-Training-1.jpg] EMPLOYEE TRAINING Before the vehicle production process begins, automotive manufacturers use augmented reality technology to train new employees on the assembly line.  One of these manufacturers is BMW, which uses augmented reality technology to conduct training sessions for engine assembly units. Training participants are given augmented reality glasses, which they can use to access detailed visualizations on how to assemble different engine parts. There are unique visualizations for every step, so the glasses guide participants through the entire process.  Using augmented reality to provide training allows participants to move at their own pace, so they can spend more time on topics they find challenging. It also helps automotive manufacturers train more people at once. Augmented reality allowed BMW to increase their training sessions from one participant to three participants.   Augmented reality training is just as effective as traditional training, too. BMW has used augmented reality to train employees for several years. After conducting surveys, the company found that there was no difference in quality between augmented reality and traditional training sessions. WORKSTATION PLANNING Some automotive manufacturers also use augmented reality to plan production plant layouts.  If an automotive manufacturer is building a new production plant, for example, they can use augmented reality software to project true-to-size digital models of equipment and tools into the empty space. This way, they can see where everything fits and visualize what the plant will look like once it’s complete. This helps automotive manufacturers save time and money. Without augmented reality technology, manufacturers would need to waste time and money on building detailed models of production plant layouts. But now, they can use augmented reality technology to quickly create layouts that will increase the efficiency of the production process. DESIGNING NEW VEHICLES In the past, automotive manufacturers had to create clay prototypes of new vehicle designs. If the design was changed, the engineers had to create another clay prototype from scratch to reflect the revisions. But now, automotive engineers can use augmented reality technology to improve the efficiency of the design process. Engineers use augmented reality software to create digital models of new designs. Then, they project the digital model into their real world environment so other engineers can examine the design and give feedback. Changes can be made directly to the digital model, so engineers won’t need to waste time or money on building a new clay prototype. Using augmented reality technology in this way helps automotive manufacturers speed up the time it takes to finalize the design of a new vehicle. Thanks to this technology, manufacturers can quickly move new designs into production. Automotive Production Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Manufacturing.jpg] MANUFACTURING Automotive manufacturers rely heavily on augmented reality technology during the actual manufacturing process. Many manufacturers now give their assembly line workers access to augmented reality glasses. If an employee needs help assembling a certain part, they can use these glasses to look up the information they need. The glasses can project detailed instructions onto the employee’s real world environment. This way, the employee can get help without having to leave the assembly line, ask someone else for assistance, or waste time flipping through a user manual. All of the information will be projected right in front of them so they can reference it while they assemble the car part.  Using augmented reality in this manner speeds up the assembly process and ensures parts are put together correctly. ROUTE GUIDING The warehouses that store various automotive parts are huge. Employees who work in these warehouses must study the layout to remember where everything is so they can quickly find the parts they need while on the clock. Fortunately, augmented reality technology makes it much easier for employees to find what they’re looking for regardless of the size of the warehouse. Augmented reality technology is used as a route guide in large automotive warehouses. To access this feature, employees must put on a pair of augmented reality glasses. The glasses will then project navigational instructions directly onto the wearer’s real world environment. For example, it will tell them when to turn down an aisle and which shelf to look at when searching for a part.  This can drastically improve the productivity of warehouse workers. Automotive Production Process [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Automotive-Augmented-Reality.jpg] AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE POST-PRODUCTION PROCESS There’s no doubt that augmented reality technology has led to significant improvements in the production process in the automotive industry. But the automotive industry has also found new and exciting ways to use this technology in the post-production process. For example, some manufacturers have used augmented reality to create virtual automotive showrooms for consumers. Now, automotive consumers no longer need to travel to different dealerships in order to explore vehicles and gather the information they need to make a purchase decision. Instead, they can step inside a virtual showroom powered by augmented reality using their smartphone or tablet.  They can select which vehicle they want to explore once they are inside the showroom. Then, they can use augmented reality technology to project a three-dimensional, realistic digital model of the vehicle into their real world surroundings. They can even look inside the vehicle to see what it would be like to sit behind the wheel. Automotive consumers can experience all of this and more without ever leaving home thanks to augmented reality technology. Augmented reality is also used as a marketing tool in the post-production world. This technology can be used to create unique experiences that help automotive manufacturers connect with consumers and promote the launch of new vehicles. For example, Audi introduced an augmented reality app that was triggered by the company’s TV commercials. Whenever the commercial aired, the app would automatically launch on the consumer’s phone. Then, the app would use augmented reality technology to make the cars jump out of the TV screen and into the consumer’s living room. From pre-production to post-production, augmented reality technology has completely disrupted the way the automotive industry operates.

How is VR Used By Auto Manufacturers?

How is VR Used By Auto Manufacturers?

September 1, 2021

One of the keys to achieving success in the competitive automotive industry is embracing new technologies. Over the last several decades, the automotive industry has evolved as a result of keyless ignitions, hybrid and electric engines, collision avoidance systems, and other innovative technologies. But another technology has recently taken the automotive industry by storm: virtual reality. Virtual reality is used to transport users to a simulated environment, where they are free to explore and interact with their virtual surroundings. Many of the top automotive manufacturers in the world are using virtual reality technology to remain competitive. How is VR used in the auto industry? Here’s a look at how five of the leading auto manufacturers are using virtual reality technology: VR Used By Auto Manufacturers [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ford.jpg] FORD Ford’s facilities were temporarily closed last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company’s executives did not want this temporary shutdown to impact the vehicle development process. To avoid this problem, Ford employees began to use virtual reality technology to design new vehicles in a virtual design studio. Designers wear virtual reality headsets and use handheld controllers to draw, rotate, and resize three-dimensional digital models . The entire design team can visit the virtual design studio to inspect, evaluate, and provide feedback on digital designs. This allowed the design team to continue to work on the development of new vehicles while Ford facilities were temporarily closed. Being able to collaborate remotely isn’t the only benefit of using virtual reality to design new vehicles. Building digital models with virtual reality eliminates the need to create expensive, time-consuming clay prototypes.  It also makes it easier for designers to edit designs based on feedback from their peers. Instead of building a new prototype after every round of edits, the designers can now visit the virtual design studio to modify the digital model in a matter of minutes. This helps Ford speed up the process of designing new vehicles. In fact, Ford reports that using virtual reality technology can reduce design time from weeks to hours.  Because of these benefits, Ford decided to continue using virtual reality to design new vehicles even after the company’s facilities had reopened.  VOLKSWAGEN In 2018, Volkswagen became one of the first automotive manufacturers to use virtual reality technology for employee training purposes. The company revealed that it would provide virtual reality training to over 10,000 employees. The training courses covered a wide range of topics, including product assembly, new hire training, and even customer service. This technology allowed Volkswagen employees to train at their own pace to ensure they understood the material. It also made it possible for Volkswagen to train large groups of employees remotely. Plus, Volkswagen can continue to update its training program by uploading new content to the virtual reality system. If Volkswagen plans on opening new production facilities, the company could now use virtual reality technology to fully train employees before the facility even opens. This way, employees would be ready to begin work right away. Virtual reality training is especially beneficial for assembly line workers. Making a mistake on the assembly line can be costly and dangerous. But thanks to virtual reality technology, assembly line workers can train in a virtual environment where they can safely learn from their mistakes. This could create a safer working environment and reduce the cost of employee errors.  VR Used By Auto Manufacturers [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Toyota.jpg] TOYOTA Toyota has used virtual reality technology in several different ways. Several years ago, Toyota revealed its TeenDrive365 driving simulator at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This driving simulator is designed to help teenage drivers understand the dangers of distracted driving.  To use it, teen drivers must put on an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Putting on this headset will immediately transport the driver to a simulated environment where they are behind the wheel of a Toyota driving down a busy street.  As they drive down the virtual street, they will encounter various types of distractions such as loud noises, talkative passengers, and text messages on their virtual smartphone. This will test the driver’s ability to tune out distractions they may face when they are behind the wheel in the real world. Toyota is also in the process of developing a virtual reality navigation system specifically for self-driving vehicles. The company filed a patent for a system that would use virtual reality to show drivers the route that their self-driving vehicle intended on taking. This would give drivers of autonomous vehicles the opportunity to adjust their route if necessary.  FIAT CHRYSLER Fiat Chrysler is another automotive manufacturer that has benefited from using virtual reality technology.  The company’s engineering and manufacturing teams use virtual reality technology to design virtual layouts of new production facilities. Similar to Ford’s virtual design process, Fiat Chrysler’s virtual design process allows employees from around the world to collaborate on these projects.  Employees can use virtual reality headsets and handheld controllers to visit the virtual design studio, see the layout, provide feedback, or change the design by moving equipment or other structures around. It only takes a few minutes to make changes to the design, so the teams can work together to quickly finalize new layouts. Designing a virtual layout helps Fiat Chrysler’s engineering and manufacturing teams identify and address potential issues ahead of time. It also helps the engineering and manufacturing teams manipulate the layout of a facility to ensure it is designed for maximum efficiency. Using virtual reality to finalize production facility layouts has allowed Fiat Chrysler to streamline the design process, reduce costs, and improve the quality and safety of the manufacturing process.  VR Used By Auto Manufacturers [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Audi.jpg] AUDI Audi has found several exciting ways to use virtual reality technology. In 2017, Audi began using virtual reality to enhance the customer consultation experience in dealerships. Audi customers could customize a vehicle and then put on a virtual reality headset to explore a three-dimensional, realistic model of the vehicle in a simulated environment. This virtual reality experience allowed customers to visualize what their custom vehicle would look like before making a purchase decision.  Audi has also used virtual reality technology to enhance the in-car experience for passengers. The company introduced the Holoride, which is an in-car virtual reality experience, at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019.  To enjoy Holoride, passengers must wear a virtual reality headset. The headset will transport them to a simulated environment where they can play games and pass the time until they reach their final destination. The movement in the simulated world is in sync with the movement of the vehicle. For example, if the car turns left, the passenger will also turn left in their simulated environment. Syncing these movements makes the experience more entertaining and realistic. Audi’s research also shows that the synchronization reduces motion sickness.  This is one of the first times that virtual reality has been used to entertain the passengers of a vehicle. Using virtual reality in this manner could drastically change the in-car experience for all passengers. THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY These aren’t the only ways in which virtual reality technology is used in the automotive industry. Automotive manufacturers and dealers also use this virtual reality to support virtual automotive showrooms and virtual test drives. This allows automotive companies to cater to consumers who want to shop for a vehicle from the comfort of their own home. There’s no telling how virtual reality will be used by auto manufacturers in the future, but it’s safe to say that this technology could potentially disrupt the industry.

Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential
Growth

Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth

July 15, 2021

Both augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have exploded in popularity over the last several years. These technologies, which were once associated solely with gaming, are now branching out to other areas, including the automotive industry. In fact, the automotive segment of the augmented reality and virtual reality market is expected to experience significant growth within the next few years. How are automotive companies using augmented reality and virtual reality technology? What is the forecast for the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market? What factors will drive this segment of the market’s growth? Here’s what you need to know:  HOW ARE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY CURRENTLY USED IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? The automotive industry has embraced both augmented and virtual reality technologies. These technologies are currently used in many different ways in the automotive industry, including: * Virtual Showrooms * Design * Repairs * Manufacturing * Car Features Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Virtual-Showrooms.jpg] VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS Many auto dealers allow consumers to shop for a new car from the comfort of their own home inside a virtual showroom powered by virtual reality technology.  Inside a virtual showroom, consumers can explore the interior and exterior of vehicles just like they would if they were standing in a real showroom. They can even rotate the vehicle to see it from every angle or adjust the settings to see what it would look like in a different color.  This allows consumers to start the car buying process at home rather than in a dealership. Now, they can visit a virtual showroom to conduct research, compare different vehicles, and narrow down their options. Plus, they can enjoy the convenience of visiting a virtual showroom at any time. They are no longer restricted to only conducting car research during standard business hours.  Virtual showrooms became increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic since many consumers were hesitant to visit dealerships in-person. But due to their overwhelming popularity, experts believe that these showrooms will be around long after the pandemic is over. DESIGN A number of automotive manufacturers are currently using virtual reality technology to speed up the process of designing new vehicles. Automotive designers typically must create clay prototypes whenever they are designing a new vehicle. Every time a change is made to the design, they must create a new clay prototype to reflect the changes. This is time-consuming and expensive, which is why many manufacturers are now using virtual reality technology instead. Now, automotive designers can build virtual models of new designs in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. If a change is requested, the designers can quickly edit the virtual model instead of building a new clay prototype from scratch. This drastically reduces the time it takes to finalize designs and the cost of designing new vehicles. Using virtual reality also allows teams to collaborate on new designs from across the globe. Once a virtual model has been created, the entire team can use virtual reality technology to enter the simulated environment, explore the design, and provide feedback. Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Repairs.jpg] REPAIRS Some automotive companies, including Mercedes-Benz, are using augmented reality technology to assist with automotive repairs.  Mercedes-Benz auto technicians who need help making a repair can put on an augmented reality headset to connect with an automotive expert. Putting on the augmented reality headset allows the expert to see exactly what the technician sees. The expert can then use augmented reality technology to project digital elements onto the technician’s environment to assist with the repair. For example, the expert might project a digital arrow onto a filter that needs to be replaced or a cap that needs to be tightened. The expert can then project other digital images to guide the technician through the steps they need to take to make the necessary repair. Using augmented reality in this manner helps technicians quickly diagnose and address vehicle issues so customers won’t need to wait as long to get back on the road. MANUFACTURING Augmented reality technology is also used in the vehicle manufacturing process. Thanks to augmented reality technology, assembly line workers won’t have to step off of the production line to find information on a specific vehicle, part, or process. Instead, they can put on an augmented reality headset to immediately access the information.  For example, an assembly line worker who doesn’t remember how to put together a specific car part can use an augmented reality headset to project an instructional video or how-to guide directly onto their real world surroundings. This allows them to reference the instructions as many times as necessary while they are actually assembling the car part.  They won’t need to spend hours flipping through an instruction manual to find the information they are looking for–all they need to do is slip on an augmented reality headset.  Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Car-Features.jpg] CAR FEATURES Augmented reality technology supports many in-car features found in vehicles on the market today, including navigational systems. These systems are designed to provide step-by-step directions to drivers to help them reach their final destination safely and as quickly as possible.  Augmented reality is used to make the instructions easier to follow. For example, a digital arrow may appear on the navigation system’s screen to tell the driver when they are approaching the street they need to turn on. Some vehicles are also designed with hazard detection systems supported by augmented reality technology. If the driver is approaching a hazard on the road, the system will project a digital element such as a blinking hazard light to alert them of the danger ahead.  Rear-view cameras that help drivers safely back up their vehicles are also powered by augmented reality technology. These systems will project digital elements onto the live feed from the rear view camera to show drivers where their vehicle is headed.  AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET FORECAST In 2020, the global augmented reality and virtual reality market was valued at $18.8 billion, which represented a 78% increase over 2019. Experts predict that the market will continue to grow over the next several years, eventually reaching a value of nearly $300 billion by the year 2025. Some segments of the market will experience more growth than others. The automotive augmented reality and virtual reality segment, however, is expected to perform well. Experts predict that the automotive segment of this market will increase by $5.10 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 32%. The automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow all around the world, but right now, Europe is the global leader in the market. Experts believe that Europe will remain a dominant player in the market in the future. They predict that about 45% of this market’s growth will originate in European countries. The automotive segment of the market is fairly concentrated among a handful of top players. But if the market continues to grow as expected, experts believe that new companies will enter the industry and compete with these major players.  WHAT FACTORS WILL DRIVE GROWTH IN THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET? Industry analysts believe that the growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will be primarily driven by these key factors: * Shift to Online Automotive Sales * Virtual Events * Potential Benefits to Automotive Companies Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Shift-to-Online-Automotive-Sales.jpg] SHIFT TO ONLINE AUTOMOTIVE SALES In 2018, only 1% of automotive consumers said they purchased their vehicle online. But the concept of purchasing a vehicle online has become increasingly popular since then. By early last year, nearly one in 10 automotive consumers were purchasing vehicles online, and 63% of consumers said they would consider making their next vehicle purchase online instead of in a showroom. This drastic shift to online automotive sales is one of the main factors that will drive growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market. To sell vehicles online, automotive companies need to use augmented reality and virtual reality to provide an at-home dealership experience. This includes giving consumers access to virtual showrooms and the opportunity to take virtual test drives. Automotive companies must invest in these technologies now in order to keep up with the competition and reach these online consumers.  VIRTUAL EVENTS Experts believe that the increase in demand for virtual events will also drive growth in the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market.  The COVID-19 pandemic forced many automotive manufacturers to host virtual auto shows rather than in-person events. Using virtual reality technology, a consumer can attend these auto shows, explore vehicles, and participate in other fun activities without ever stepping foot outside of their home. Because virtual reality creates a fully immersive experience, the consumer will feel as if they are really attending an in-person auto show. Although this trend was sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to continue in the future. This is primarily because it is less expensive than hosting an in-person show and it allows automotive manufacturers to reach a wider audience, which is especially important to manufacturers who are hosting these events to launch new vehicles. POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO AUTOMOTIVE COMPANIES Automotive companies benefit from using virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Using virtual reality to design vehicles, for example, can save automotive manufacturers thousands of dollars . Using augmented reality in the manufacturing process can improve productivity, which also benefits the manufacturer. Virtual showrooms can save automotive companies money, too. If consumers visit an online showroom, they won’t need to visit an in-person showroom, which means auto dealers won’t need to keep as many vehicles in their showrooms. As a result, auto dealers won’t need to cover the costs of transporting and maintaining as many vehicles. They may also be able to downsize to a smaller property, which will drastically reduce their operating expenses.  The potential savings are too great for automotive companies to ignore, so this factor will most certainly drive a great deal of growth in this market.  WHAT CHALLENGES WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET FACE? Most experts agree that the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow exponentially over the next few years, but the market could encounter a few challenges along the way, including: * Slowdown in Automotive Industry * Adoption of New Technology Automotive Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Will Experience Exponential Growth [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Slowdown-in-the-Automotive-Industry.jpg] SLOWDOWN IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY One of the main challenges that the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market will face is a slowdown in the automotive industry.  The automotive industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, automotive sales in the U.S. declined by about 15%, which represented the fourth-largest annual decline in sales since 1980. However, the automotive industry was starting to slow down long before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. In 2018, the automotive industry represented approximately 20% of the slowdown in GDP and roughly 30% of the slowdown in global trade.  The slowdown has been largely attributed to the fact that many markets have reached maximum automobile saturation. Furthermore, many consumers rely on ride-sharing services or public transportation, which they may find more affordable or convenient than owning their own vehicle.  Some industry experts believe that the automotive industry will start to slowly recover from the effects of the pandemic this year. However, if the pre-pandemic slowdown continues, this could negatively impact the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market’s growth. ADOPTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY The automotive industry could also struggle to get consumers to adopt these technologies, which could hinder the growth of the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market segment. According to a survey conducted in 2019, only 30% of consumers have experienced augmented reality technology and only 11% of consumers own a virtual reality headset. These statistics indicate that many consumers might not be familiar with what virtual and augmented reality technology are or how they work. Because these technologies are typically associated with the gaming industry, consumers may not understand why or how they could be used in the automotive industry.  For example, consumers may not understand the benefits of using augmented or virtual reality technology to shop for a vehicle online. It’s up to automotive companies to overcome this obstacle by educating consumers to ensure they understand how using these technologies could make the car buying process faster and more convenient. Although overcoming these challenges won’t be easy, they shouldn’t stop the automotive augmented reality and virtual reality market from experiencing exponential growth in the years ahead.

An Analysis of Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry

An Analysis of Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry

April 14, 2021

The subscription service business model has been around for decades. In the past, there wasn’t much for consumers to subscribe to besides newspapers and magazines. But these days, there are subscription services for food, clothing, cosmetics, TV shows, music, workout classes, and even razor blades. As a result, consumers are often subscribed to more services than they can count. The subscription service business model is becoming increasingly popular in many different economic sectors, including the automotive industry. How is the automotive industry using the subscription service business model? Is offering a subscription service a profitable venture for automotive companies?   AN OVERVIEW OF THE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE BUSINESS MODEL Most businesses use a transactional business model, which involves charging consumers for the products or services they use in a single transaction. But a subscription business model does not involve a single transaction. Instead, consumers pay a fixed amount on a regular basis in order to access all of the products or services offered by a company. Most subscription-based services charge consumers these recurring fees either monthly or annually.  Consumers who pay this recurring fee are known as subscribers. As long as they continue to pay the fee, they can continue to access all of the products or services that the company has to offer. But if they stop paying the fee, they are no longer subscribed, which means they can no longer access these products or services. There are three main types of subscription services: replenishment, curation, and access. Replenishment subscription services provide consumers with recurring deliveries of certain products such as diapers, razors, or dog food. Curation subscription services provide consumers with a variety of new items or personalized experiences. For example, consumers who sign up to receive subscription beauty boxes will receive a curated selection of cosmetic items every month. Access subscription services give subscribers exclusive access to lower prices, special perks, or certain products or services. Netflix and other streaming platforms are perfect examples of access subscription services. All three types of subscription services are popular among consumers, but the automotive industry primarily uses the access subscription service model. Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Subscription-Services-in-the-Automotive-Industry.jpg] SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY The automotive industry currently uses the subscription service business model in these two distinct ways: * In-Car Services * Car Ownership IN-CAR SERVICES Many automotive manufacturers now use the subscription-based business model to offer consumers access to exclusive in-car services.  One example of this type of subscription service is Mercedes Me Connect, which is offered to consumers who own Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Car owners who subscribe to this service will gain access to various services, including: * Remote engine start * Remote door lock/unlock * Remote diagnostics * In-vehicle access to certain apps, including Yelp and Google * Vehicle locator * Updated vehicle data, including fuel levels, tire pressure, mileage, and more * Smartphone-to-car communication Mercedes-Benz also offers several other types of subscription services, including Mercedes Me Entertain, which gives subscribers access to iHeart Radio and an in-vehicle WiFi spot, and Mercedes Me Secure, which offers automatic collision and alarm notifications, emergency call capabilities, and more. Each of these services has its own monthly fee. For example, Mercedes Me Secure is $199 per year and Mercedes Me Entertain is $18 per month. Mercedes-Benz owners who don’t pay these subscription fees cannot access these services, which means they miss out on a lot of the features that their vehicle has to offer.  BMW also plans on launching a subscription service that allows consumers to access certain in-car features. Last year, the automotive manufacturer revealed that all vehicles would be designed with certain add-on features such as heated steering wheels and adaptive cruise control. However, BMW owners will only be able to use these features if they pay a monthly subscription fee. BMW owners could activate these features at any time by subscribing to this service.  This subscription service would allow BMW owners to pick which features they want to pay for and which they don’t need. But the announcement was met with considerable backlash from consumers who were not receptive to the idea of paying for features that are built into a vehicle they purchased. These consumers believe the purchase price of the vehicle should cover the use of all of its features. Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Car-Ownership.jpg] CAR OWNERSHIP In the past, automotive consumers who wanted to use a vehicle for an extended period of time typically had to choose between buying or leasing one. But a third option is now available to these consumers: subscribing to a car service. Automotive consumers who subscribe to this type of service must pay a monthly fee in exchange for unlimited access to a specific vehicle. Subscribers don’t technically own the vehicle, but they can use it as much as they would like while subscribed to the service.  Subscribing to a car service may sound similar to leasing a car, but there are several differences. First, a car subscription service is far more flexible and typically offers shorter terms than a lease.  Second, a monthly subscription fee covers more than just the use of the vehicle. In most cases, it also covers insurance, roadside assistance, and maintenance services. This makes access to a personal vehicle far more affordable for the average automotive consumer. Some car subscription services also give consumers the chance to switch vehicles at any time during their subscription. For example, a consumer may want to drive a SUV during the week, but switch to a sporty sedan or convertible on the weekends. All of this would be covered by the monthly fee. A number of automotive manufacturers have already launched car subscription services. BMW launched its subscription service, Access by BMW, in select markets in 2019. Mercedes-Benz also tested out its own subscription service in Nashville, Philadelphia, and other major markets in 2019. Several automotive manufacturers have launched national car subscription services, including Volvo. Automotive consumers who subscribe to the Care by Volvo service pay a monthly fee to use various Volvo models, including the XC40, V60, and S60 sedan. There are also a handful of startup companies and automotive dealerships that offer their own car subscription services. PrimeFlip gives subscribers in New England access to a wide range of sedans and SUVs, whereas Revolve only offers subscriptions to luxury vehicles. Consumers who subscribe to one of these services aren’t limited to vehicles from a specific manufacturer, so they can enjoy the benefit of driving various makes and models.  The cost of a car subscription can vary greatly depending on the service, type of vehicle, and location. For example, subscribers to Care by Volvo pay anywhere from $600 to $875 depending on what type of vehicle they want to use. But it can cost nearly $1000 per month to participate in Audi’s luxury car subscription service. Signing up for a used car subscription service is much more affordable. Members of these services can use a reliable used vehicle for as little as $150 to $200 per month. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE BUSINESS MODEL? There are many benefits to using a subscription-based business model to generate revenue. First, this type of business model gives automotive companies the opportunity to establish a regular and recurring revenue stream. Monthly or annual subscription fees are guaranteed revenue for these companies. The more subscribers the company has, the more revenue the company can generate through monthly or annual subscription fees. Having a regular, recurring income stream can make it easier for automotive companies to evaluate their financial health and manage their inventory. It can also make it easier for companies to rapidly expand since they know they can depend on this regular income to finance their growth.  Companies can build stronger relationships with their customers using a subscription service business model, too. The relationship between the subscriber and company could last for months or even years, depending on how long the subscription lasts. This gives companies the chance to turn each subscriber into a loyal lifetime customer. A subscription-based model could also lower the barrier to entry for a company’s products or services. For example, consumers may not be able to afford to pay $20,000 for a vehicle in a single transaction, so this price might be a barrier to entry. But paying a few hundred dollars per month for access to a vehicle is more affordable, so even if they end up paying more over time, this subscription price lowers the barrier to entry.  Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Using-a-subscription-model.jpg] Using a subscription model can also increase a company’s return on its customer acquisition costs. The longer a customer remains a subscriber, the higher this return will be for the company. Companies can generate even more revenue from their subscribers by offering upgrades or add-on features. Since subscribers already have a strong relationship with the company, they are usually more receptive to upselling. It’s also easier to reach these customers since they already provided their contact information when signing up for a subscription.  These are some of the many reasons why so many businesses have adopted the subscription-based business model. WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF THE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE BUSINESS MODEL? There are some downsides to the subscription business model, too. Some companies that want to use the subscription-based business model must make a substantial initial investment in order to provide customers with products or services that are worth the subscription fee. Smaller companies may not have the resources to make this investment. However, this typically does not apply to the automotive industry. Companies must also commit to investing in adding more value to their subscription services on a regular basis. If they fail to continue to add value, consumers may lose interest in the service and end their subscription. This is especially important for companies that offer month-to-month subscriptions that allow consumers to opt-out of their subscriptions at any time.  The subscription-based service model is also becoming increasingly popular, which means companies must be prepared to deal with a lot of competition. This could make it more difficult to acquire new customers and secure a large market share. Another drawback of subscription services is that small issues can easily turn into major problems. Every subscriber receives the same product or service, which means if there is an issue with the product or service, it doesn’t just affect one customer, it affects the company’s entire customer base. A minor glitch in the system, for example, could disrupt service for thousands of subscribers.  These are some of the many challenges that companies must prepare for before using a subscription-based business model. Subscription Services in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Are-Automotive-Subscription-Services-Profitable.jpg] ARE AUTOMOTIVE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES PROFITABLE? There’s no doubt that the subscription service business model is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the automotive industry. But is this business model profitable for automotive companies? Most companies need to make a substantial initial investment in order to launch a subscription service. However, automotive manufacturers already have everything they need to launch these services.  For instance, manufacturers already have countless vehicles at their disposal that they can offer to consumers via a subscription car service. They also already have the technology to offer consumers the option to subscribe to digital services such as remote engine start and remote lock and unlock. Because of this, automotive manufacturers may not need to generate a lot of revenue in order to turn a profit on these subscription services. But how much revenue can subscription services generate for automotive companies? It depends. Mercedes-Benz, for instance, sells about 2.5 million passenger vehicles per year. It’s unlikely that every consumer who purchases a vehicle would subscribe to the Mercedes-Benz Me services. But say half of these new car owners subscribe to the Mercedes Me Secure service, which costs $199 per year. This would generate nearly $250 million in revenue per year for Mercedes-Benz, which is a small fraction of the company’s annual revenue of over $110 billion.  Based on this example, it’s clear that Mercedes-Benz cannot rely solely on subscription services for revenue. But the company can use these services to generate a substantial amount of additional revenue every year. This is just one example, but it illustrates how automotive companies can benefit greatly from launching subscription services. There’s no question that automotive companies can profit off of using the subscription-based business model to offer consumers exclusive services or short-term access to vehicles.

Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy

Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy

April 2, 2021

For the last few years, global consumers have been moving towards a shopping model almost entirely facilitated by e-commerce growth. From food to childcare, it’s possible to purchase goods and services – across virtually every sector – with the tap of a screen. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the automotive industry also saw a huge influx in commercial and consumer interest surrounding digital experiences and online tools. Since customers are getting used to handling the car-buying process from their desktop or mobile devices, automotive brands are being rushed into the e-commerce sphere like never before.  To reach the growing base of consumers who spend the majority of their time online, auto brands have to adopt an online user experience strategy that can span across multiple demographics and niches.  What was previously only a trend among younger consumers is being taken over by the masses, and teenagers and seniors alike are looking for ways to shop online. Read on to learn more about the core reasons why the automotive industry must embrace a digital-first customer experience strategy. Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/digital-customer-experience.jpg] WHAT IS DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? Making your online customers feel seen, heard, and valued is more important to the growth of your business than you might expect. As we enter the ever-expanding digital landscape, this element is becoming even more essential across e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.  In short, digitization starts and stops at the customer level. This means that all changes, actions, and functions in a digital marketing or business strategy should keep the customer’s goals at the forefront. Understanding the standard consumer profile for any respective brand’s target audience is always the first step, but there is more to the digital customer experience than a couple of email campaigns and some A/B testing. In the automotive industry, digital customer experience is used throughout the entire shopping process to target, reach, and communicate with the ideal consumer. This information is built from a variety of factors, including: * Online shopping trends * Mobile app use * SEO * Content branding * Email response rate * Social media marketing Essentially, a customer’s digital experience is a virtual representation of your brand from the eyes of a consumer, site visitor, or potential client. Tapering down the salesly language and focusing on objective, educational content is one way to move your digitization strategy to the level of the consumer. In general, customers are tired of being “sold to” and instead are looking for meaningful experiences when they’re shopping online. However, there are three primary forms of digital experience management: Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Desktop.jpg] DESKTOP Digital media and e-commerce activity is still heavily influenced by trends in desktop-based customer experience analysis. Since much of the world is continuing to work remotely, we’re spending even more time sitting behind a desktop screen. In between video calls and checking work emails, many users are spending their breaks on social media, or window shopping with their favorite brands. The auto industry is jumping onto this trend by making online car shopping more seamless and simplified than ever before.  Content marketing, SEO branding, campaign planning, and analytics are easily adapted to desktop usage trends and customer behavior analysis. These tools can help brands to guide the right users to the right products while cultivating brand recognition and interest without the glaring conspicuousness of billboards and in-person sales pitches.  Cultivating a favorable digital-first customer experience can help potential customers make the decision to pursue a purchase with a respective brand while making it easier for them to complete their purchase with a few clicks.  Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Mobile.jpg] MOBILE In many cases, mobile customer digital experience elements can be the same as those found on a brand’s desktop-based online environment. From marketing strategy to web analytics and paid media, these elements are built to be viewed and interacted with via a user’s mobile device – such as a phone or tablet.  Other elements that can build a digital customer experience include social media marketing, proprietary apps, and email automation. The majority of the world accesses the internet from a mobile device, and this metric is only continuing to grow. Phones are more accessible than ever, and at least 85 percent of mobile users prefer apps over mobile-friendly browser sites.  To tap into this growing corner of the digital market, automotive brands are expanding their mobile offerings to include: * AR-assisted shopping features * Ship-to-home or ship-to-store * Video and image search * Instant mobile financing * Two-factor identification for proprietary accounts While email, social media, and other marketing elements are reachable via desktop environments, mobile-friendly versions are typically more concise and accessible for users on the go. Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/In-Store.jpg] IN-STORE Brick-and-mortar dealerships aren’t exempt from this digital expansion, as customers are looking for certain features no matter where they’re shopping from. AR and AI-assisted shopping apps, virtual showrooms, and enhanced in-store advertising are proven to reach more consumers – while keeping current ones in front of your inventory for more time. Using mobile apps, in-store virtual environments, or even a tablet in the showroom can give customers instant access to: * Live inventory updates * Virtual testing programs * Customizable content (color, features, add-ons to meet specifications) * Detailed self-led research Instead of limiting the shopping experience to the information provided by an onsite sales representative, customers can take their shopping trip into their own hands with digital customer experience management.  Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/What-trends-are-driving-digitization-in-automotive.jpg] WHAT TRENDS ARE DRIVING DIGITIZATION IN AUTOMOTIVE? Digitization isn’t a one-way street. There are a variety of different factors that are changing the way customers and brands interact with each other in 2020. Some of the top trends that are driving digitization in automotive are: * Increased connectivity * Wireless solutions * Internet of Things (IoT) * Heightened customer expectations * Increased client autonomy * Environmental regulations * Efficiency/productivity prioritization * Cybersecurity awareness As a result, online auto brands are taking these changes into account to create their best digital-first customer experience for their respective client base. While the auto industry has been historically resistant to change, these trends are showing that this is one sphere that prioritizes scalability, growth, and flexibility in the digital age. In fact, experts expect to see an increase in digital investment of at least 24 percent over the next couple of years. Customer centricity is paving the way for a new, consumer-first business model in the automotive industry as a whole. This follows the idea that shoppers should be in charge of their shopping experience, particularly through the use of digital functions and devices.  To ensure a seamless transition into this strategy, auto brands must synchronize their mobile, desktop, and in-store shopping experiences to facilitate ease of use and intuitive design. As a result, customers can cultivate a shopping experience that reflects their own unique needs and goals. Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Digital-First Customer Experience Strategy [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/What-are-the-key-factors-affecting-the-automotive-industry.jpg] WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS AFFECTING THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? Did you know that digital cybersecurity and personal data measures have changed significantly in the past few years? Are you aware of the environmental changes that are sweeping across the global automotive market? All of these factors, and more, are making a huge impact on the digitalization of car sales as a whole. As we’ve navigated through the recent economic downturn, amid a global pandemic, customers are looking for new ways to make their car shopping processes easier and safer than in previous years.  Cybersecurity trends are driving development across the digital sphere, including the automotive industry. To prevent data theft, identity risks, and cyber-attacks across the board, facilitating secure communications is a current necessity.  Consumers are harboring a growing distrust of digital brands, despite preferring this level of accessibility over in-person sessions.  Automotive brands are prioritizing cybersecurity by enlisting added protection through: * Data encryption * Multi-factor identification * Biometric connectivity * Secure mobile app development * Firewalls Environmental changes, and subsequent regulations surrounding fuel efficiency and waste production, is another change that is sweeping through the global automotive retail sector.  Not only have we seen an increased interest in electric vehicles, but customers are also prioritizing practical functions over flashy advertising tactics. These changes are being used by automotive brands to adapt and innovate their product offerings while adjusting their digital branding and commercial activities to appeal to this dynamic consumer base. Connected vehicles are also making waves, and affecting the widespread digitization of the auto industry. Not only are more shoppers looking for self-driving cars than in previous years, but they’re also shopping for more traditional models that offer car-to-mobile and car-to-car connectivity.  Using this type of technology, through the IoT framework, cars are learning how to make decisions using external stimulus. This can include signals provided by other internet-connected vehicles, obstacles on the road, and even commands from a mobile device.  Apps and mobile devices with connected vehicles can be used for everything from unlocking the vehicle remotely to sending information to the car’s built-in computer structure. In this way, mobile and wearable devices can connect to the vehicle to make every trip easier and more convenient – while keeping those inside and outside of the car safer than before.  Proprietary apps, augmented reality connectivity, and enhanced security measures can rely on the vehicle owner’s  Furthermore, consumers want more control in the process. From financing to delivery, shoppers are expecting to apply their lengthy research to make the best decisions for their unique needs. This means that brands have more responsibility to provide: * Intuitive site design * Functional mobile apps * Increased digitization in physical shopping spaces * Improved productivity across the supply chain * Detailed, easily accessible information and research material * Highly autonomous shopping tools and inventory management methods Shoppers don’t want to head to multiple car lots to scope out the inventory and negotiate terms with earnest salespeople. Instead, consumers are largely preferring to conduct a lot of the research and planning on their own to trim the transaction and save time from start to finish. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY IN GLOBAL E-COMMERCE? Many industries have changed and moved to adapt to rapid changes caused by the pandemic and related economic shifts around the world. Since the automotive industry is projected to account for more than $9 trillion worldwide through 2030, this sector is responsible for a significant amount of revenue for a multitude of countries, brands, and commercial entities. But, the automotive industry is evolving. Putting customers first is essential to tapping into virtually every demographic on the market. In fact, overlooking this element of the customer experience is one of the main setbacks auto brands are experiencing in 2021. To combat economic slumps and a reduction in the sales pipeline, putting the customer at the forefront of your sales and marketing strategy (throughout digital connectivity and virtual shopping tools) is one of the most impactful data points to boost turnover, reduce cart abandonment, and increase referrals. Responding to the significant growth in digital commerce and virtual shopping trends is one of the most influential factors that can keep the automotive industry powerful and scalable as the world continues to navigate through this untouched territory. We’re all still learning about our new digitally enhanced world, and reaching customers via virtual customer experience management is at the forefront.  By quickly and seamlessly responding to consumer trends, economic changes, and even manufacturing shifts – automotive brands can continue to stay ahead of the curve and build favorable, user-friendly online experiences for every user. The automotive industry needs a digital-first customer experience to continue to keep decision-making power and autonomy in the hands of the consumer. Whether shoppers are looking for a used commuter car or a special-edition luxury model, they’re trying to move the shopping model into their own hands and out of the hands of industry retailers, salespeople, and third-party agents. This includes financing, customization, customer relationship management, and more. Tap into the growing sector of digital-first customers by building an e-commerce structure that is intuitive, scalable, and easily accessible from any and every IoT-connected device. Whether shoppers want to take their tablet to the dealership, test drive through a VR headset, or handle the entire process from their phone at home – building a digital-first customer experience is essential for all auto brands that want to keep up in this ever-changing consumer market.

In the Showroom: Automotive Features to Check Out During the New Car Hunt

In the Showroom: Automotive Features to Check Out During the New Car Hunt

March 29, 2021

Car shopping during the pandemic may lead consumers to begin their new car journey online, utilizing virtual or augmented reality car showrooms (like RelayCars). In some areas, however, dealerships may be open—although capacity may be limited. Whether consumers are checking out new cars via virtual experiences or the old standard in-person visits, in the showroom, automotive features to check out during the new car hunt are vast. While many shoppers will inevitably review all the basic options, here are all the other features worth examining, asking questions about to a salesperson and researching online. INTERIOR OPTIONS One of the major details customers will need to decide when choosing a new car is the interior color and material. Some buyers have a preference and will always choose leather over cloth. Depending on the model, cloth could be the standard feature with leather interior adding to the price. Luxury cars may opt for leather as the standard. After all, if a buyer is going to spend the price of a home on a new car, that interior should be luxe! However, even budget friendlier brands like Kia offer leather interior as the standard feature on specific models. Buyers don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on a new car to feel pampered in their ride! When looking at cars online via augmented reality or virtual reality platforms, buyers might want to peek inside at the interior. Make note if it’s cloth or leather—yes, even virtually this should be identifiable. During the research phase of the car buying process, consumers might look into if what is shown virtually is the standard interior or an upgrade. If leather is the upgrade, typically shoppers can inquire online about the price of this feature. Of course, cloth and leather interiors may include color options, too. However, the color that the buyer selects for the interior may depend on the paint hue of the vehicle. EXTERIOR PAINT OPTIONS The Drive reported that white was the top color (or perhaps non-color) for cars in 2020. Black and grey came rounded out the top three most popular hues. Perhaps many consumers like their vehicles to be neutral. Red is often cited as being a more expensive color, with many consumers surmising that choosing the flame-hot hue will boost insurance bills. However, Insure.com explains that this is a myth. Car insurance companies don’t look at a car’s hue when quoting insurance. Previewing different paint hues on a car is how virtual and augmented reality automotive showrooms may have an edge over their in-person counterparts. While dealerships may offer car models in many different hues on the floor, not every car color may be on the floor. Yet, many new makes/models are offered in an array of color choices. The Nissan Altima, for example, comes in nine different paint options, including Sunset Drift Chroma Flare (a hot orange). Nissan’s site lets shoppers preview the car in every color wave, but not all manufacturers may offer this option. Again, if shoppers are visiting the dealership to see a model in person, the color options on the floor may or may not include the full-color spectrum of choices. Online virtual and augmented reality showrooms like RelayCars could be a great resource for shoppers to swap out paint hues to find the color that fits their personality and lifestyle. When using online platforms, consumers may be able to swap out the interior colors to find the best combinations of interior and exterior hues. A black interior may look too intense when paired with a black exterior hue. Or some shoppers may love the black-on-black appeal. Virtual and augmented reality experiences may let shoppers experiment with different options to find the best pairings. Showroom Automotive Features [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Navigation-Features.jpg] NAVIGATION FEATURES Virtual experiences often let consumers peek inside the interior of the car to get an idea about the basic features. This includes visualizing the navigation screen and instrument panel. Virtual experiences might not let consumers fully interact with these features, but they can provide a basic context about what the vehicle offers. Shoppers can use the virtual experiences to gather information about the basic features of a particular model. While virtual or augmented reality experiences can offer a glance at the inside offerings, the manufacturers sites often provide more detailed specs on the basic features of each model. Today’s new models may offer backup cameras as a standard feature, while front cameras or more advanced navigation features may be an upgrade (bumping up the cost). However, luxury models may offer advanced navigation systems as a standard feature. When researching online, shoppers can gain more information about what is standard and the cost of upgrades via dealership sites. Many dealerships offer a virtual assistant (online) or virtual customer salesperson who can provide more information about a particular vehicle. They may be able to clarify the price of upgrades or specs on particular models. Shoppers also can keep in mind that buying a new car is often a negotiation process. If the buyer has a trade-in, this can lower the sale price of the new car. Rebates and other dealership offers also can bump the price down. Showroom Automotive Features [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Wheels-and-Rims.jpg] WHEELS AND RIMS The look of the car also is affected by the wheels and rims. Upgraded rims can seriously add to the appeal of a vehicle. And these upgrades can get expensive. Virtual and augmented platforms may let buyers play around with different wheel looks. Don’t assume that the standard look is the best! Upgrades can transform the appearance of even a basic car. Ask about upgrades—like alloy wheels–for larger models like SUVs. While some manufacturers may offer rim or tire options and upgrades, others might simply have one standard option. Some car owners pursue their own upgrades, but opting for bigger wheels is something that owners need to research. Popular Mechanics explains why and how the size of the tires matters and notes that “Bigger is not always better.” ACCESSORIES & MORE! Interior material and color as well as wheels and the outside paint hue might be the big features that many shoppers find most notable during their shopping experience. The interior features, however, can be vast…and those upgrades may seriously bump the price tag. High-end stereo systems may be an upgrade that buyers are willing to invest in if they drive long distances consistently. If drivers are stuck in the car for hours each day, the quality and clarity of the entertainment system may be something to consider. Some buyers may without question invest in audio or entertainment upgrades. Parents with the extra budget might add television screens to the backseat for children. These entertainment features come in handy during both long and short trips! Turn on a favorite movie or television show and let the kids snack and relax while parents battle those after-school pick up traffic jams. Upgrades and accessories also include weatherproof floor mats, emergency kits and even netting for the back storage area. Toyota even offers a Glass Breakage Sensor that triggers an alert when the vehicle’s glass is compromised. Add-ons can simply add to the owner’s feeling of security. An emergency kit, for example, may include jumper cables and other necessities an owner might need if they are stranded or broken down. Luxury auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and others may include far more extensive offerings for their clientele. Customization options could be nearly endless. The Ferrari Atelier is a design studio where clients create their own ‘bespoke’ vehicle. Rolls Royce offers the Starlight Headliner feature, which clients can customize in their own celestial patterns of choice. Want a specific zodiac constellation featured on the ceiling? It can happen! One Bugatti owner went so custom that the company almost didn’t think the requested paint specs for the body could be mastered. After two years, however, the tiny diamond pattern was completed on the Bugatti Divo, which, per TopGear, costs more than $4 million…before any custom features or options. Showroom Automotive Features [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Online-Virtual-Experiences-vs.-In-Store.jpg] ONLINE VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES VS. IN-STORE  When shopping for a new car and perusing all the add-ons, features and options available for the model, virtual experiences online may offer a way for shoppers to play around and experiment with colors and other options. However, visiting the dealership in person may let shoppers physically experience some of these features. Virtual experiences cannot necessarily allow shoppers to turn up a stereo system or explore the touch screen entertainment system. The dealership showroom also allows shoppers to sit in a vehicle and understand the tactile differences between different interior options. However, during Covid, these visits may be limited or require appointments. Mandates may vary per state. Both virtual/augmented reality and physical vehicle showrooms amplify the user experience when shopping for a new car. The online tools offered by virtual/augmented reality showrooms provide an easy way for shoppers to research different cars and preview these models. Paint hues can be changed, and consumers can virtually look inside the vehicles. When the new car wish list has been whittled down to a few favorites, the in-person experience allows shoppers to feel out their options. Test drives can let possible buyers decide if they love that stereo upgrade, if the heated seats are worthwhile and to fully experience other major features. Smaller upgrades or accessories also may be worth asking about at the dealership. Many manufacturers offer an array of add-ons that can further customize the vehicle. As for luxury vehicles, the available features may be completely customizable and quite extensive.

Cadillac Shows Off Augmented Reality in 2021 Escalade

Cadillac Shows Off Augmented Reality in 2021 Escalade

January 18, 2021

The Cadillac Escalade was introduced in 1999 as a result of the rising popularity of the Lincoln Navigator. But over the last two decades, the Escalade has forged its own path in the automotive industry. It is no longer seen as a vehicle that was launched to help General Motors compete with its rival, Ford. Instead, it is seen as an iconic full-sized luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV).  The Escalade has been ranked the best-selling full-sized luxury SUV on the market year after year. Much of this success is owed to Cadillac’s commitment to innovation, which was on full display several months ago when the automotive company revealed the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. The latest model of the Cadillac Escalade has a number of new and exciting features. But what made headlines was the 2021 Escalade’s use of cutting-edge augmented reality technology. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY? Augmented reality is a technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements onto their real-world environment. The digital elements are often visual in nature, such as images, but sounds and other sensory stimuli can be superimposed as well.  The purpose of this technology is to enhance the user’s experience with their own surroundings. HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY CURRENTLY USED IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? Augmented reality is often associated with the gaming industry. It’s true that this technology has been used to create countless apps and games, but it’s also widely used in other fields, including the automotive industry. Augmented reality is currently used in many different ways in the automotive industry, including: * Maintenance/Repairs Assistance * Design * Training and Education * Heads Up Displays (HUDs) * Consumer Education MAINTENANCE/REPAIRS ASSISTANCE Several automotive manufacturers, including BMW, use augmented reality technology to assist mechanics with maintenance and repairs.  Mechanics can use augmented reality glasses to access digital instructions or videos to assist with the maintenance or repair of a vehicle. They can even use these glasses to communicate with a remote team of experts, who will be able to project digital elements onto the mechanic’s surroundings to help them understand what needs to be done to complete the repair. Using augmented reality in this manner helps mechanics quickly diagnose issues, make difficult repairs, and perform routine maintenance tasks on vehicles. Cadillac Shows Off Augmented Reality in 2021 Escalade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-251.jpeg] DESIGN Some automotive manufacturers also use augmented reality technology to assist with the process of designing a new vehicle model. One of these manufacturers is Ford, which uses the technology to identify potential issues with a design before it is finalized. For example, say the design team at Ford wants to add a larger infotainment screen to the interior of a new model. Ford designers can use augmented reality technology to project a digital image of this large-sized screen onto the interior of the actual car. This allows the designers to see how the larger-sized screen will look once it is in the vehicle. At this point, the designers may realize that the large size of the screen simply won’t fit or will take away from other interior features. This example shows how designers can use this technology to identify and address potential design issues before they are put into production. TRAINING AND EDUCATION Teachers may use augmented reality technology to teach students who are interested in going into automotive repair or design. This technology allows these students to gain hands-on experience in these fields so they can acquire the skills they need to succeed in the industry. Manufacturers also rely on augmented reality technology to provide training sessions to employees. For example, this technology might be used to provide instructions to assembly workers who are tasked with building a new vehicle part or model. HEADS UP DISPLAYS (HUDS) Numerous automotive manufacturers now design vehicles with heads up displays, or HUDs, that are powered by augmented reality technology. This type of display uses augmented reality technology to project digital elements such as navigational directions, speed limits, and road hazard warnings onto the driver’s windshield. CONSUMER EDUCATION Automotive manufacturers use augmented reality technology to educate consumers on the latest models, too.  Some manufacturers allow consumers to superimpose digital images or 3-D renderings of a vehicle directly onto their surroundings. Consumers can then walk around the digital vehicle, look inside, and explore its features just as they would if they were looking at the vehicle at a dealership. This gives consumers the opportunity to learn more about a specific vehicle without ever stepping foot into a dealership. In other words, it gives consumers the power to conduct research and make a purchase decision from the comfort of their own homes. Cadillac Shows Off Augmented Reality in 2021 Escalade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-252.jpeg] THE 2021 CADILLAC ESCALADE’S AUGMENTED REALITY NAVIGATIONAL TOOL The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is designed with more than 38 inches of diagonal display screens, including a 14.2 inch digital instrument cluster that is located front and center. This screen does much more than simply display the driver’s speed and engine revolutions. It is also designed with augmented reality turn-by-turn navigational assistance. The augmented reality navigational assistance tool is launched whenever the driver has entered a route into the navigation system. In other words, this feature is activated whenever the driver is relying on the vehicle’s GPS system to get to their final destination.  The screen will display a live video feed from the camera located in the front of the vehicle. Digital elements such as arrows and signs will be projected onto this live video feed using augmented reality technology. These digital elements are designed to help drivers clearly see where they need to go in order to get to their destination. For example, the system may superimpose brightly colored digital arrows onto the live video feed to alert the driver that they need to turn right or left. Drivers will never need to squint their eyes in an attempt to read street signs and figure out where to turn again. They can rely solely on this augmented reality navigation system to determine where to go. Because the screen is located directly in front of the driver, it’s easy for the driver to see these visual prompts without taking their eyes off of the road. This way, the driver does not need to look down at their smartphone in order to see driving directions. This allows the driver to focus on the road and reduces their risk of getting into an accident as a result of a distraction. Furthermore, the system will provide audio prompts to help the driver navigate to their final destination. This ensures that drivers can easily figure out where they’re going, regardless of whether they prefer to see or listen to navigational instructions. WHAT ELSE CAN CONSUMERS EXPECT FROM THE 2021 CADILLAC ESCALADE? There’s no doubt that the augmented reality navigation system is one of the most exciting features of the latest Escalade model. But there are a number of other features that every consumer should know about when deciding whether or not to purchase this vehicle. As previously mentioned, the vehicle features more than 38 inches of display screens. In addition to the 14.2-inch digital instrument screen, the vehicle also has a 7.2-inch screen located to the driver’s left. This screen displays important information, including the average miles per gallon and trip distance. The remaining 16.9 inches is reserved for the vehicle’s infotainment system, which is located in the center of the dashboard. All three are OLED screens, which means they display vivid colors and clear pictures. Each screen is also slightly curved toward the driver, making it easier for the driver to see the displays without having to crane their neck. Another feature that can be accessed through these screens is night vision. Drivers can activate this feature at night to help them see the road ahead and easily identify pedestrians, animals, and other hazards. Some models of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are also designed with a 36-speaker sound system from AKG. This system allows the driver to set different audio levels for different areas of the vehicle.  For example, say the kids in the backseat want to listen to their music, but the parents in the front don’t want to hear it. In this case, the parents can turn the audio level in the backseat up and the audio level in the front seat down.  The 2021 Escalade is designed with a handful of different safety features, too. Some of these safety features include standard automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, rear pedestrian alert, lane change alert, and lane departure warning. The vehicle also has enhanced automatic parking assist, which helps drivers safely park their vehicles in tight spaces. These are some of the many new and exciting features incorporated into the design of the 2021 Escalade. The standard 2021 Escalade starts at $77,490, but the more high-end models cost upwards of $100,000.  Cadillac Shows Off Augmented Reality in 2021 Escalade [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-253.jpeg] WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY? Augmented reality technology has already been widely embraced by various automotive manufacturers. But experts believe that this technology will continue to grow in popularity and drive innovation within the industry over the next several years. There are countless applications for this technology in the automotive industry, so there’s no telling how it will be used in the future. But one thing is certain: automotive manufacturers will need to find new and exciting ways to use this technology in order to stay competitive.

The Outlook for the Automotive Industry Looks Promising in 2021

The Outlook for the Automotive Industry Looks Promising in 2021

January 11, 2021

After several years of steady growth, the automotive industry suffered huge losses in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The automotive industry has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, but this one was caused by an unprecedented global health and economic crisis. Historically, the automotive industry has not always been able to bounce back quickly after rough years. For instance, this industry was hit hard by the economic recession in 2008. It took about five years for the industry to recover in the United States, but it took almost a decade for the European automotive market to fully recover. But fortunately, experts believe that the automotive industry will not need to wait years to rebound from the effects of the pandemic. In fact, automotive insiders are optimistic about the outlook for the automotive industry in 2021. THE STATE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IN 2020 Nearly every industry was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the automotive industry was among the hardest hit.  Demand for vehicles in the U.S. started to drop in March of 2020, which is when COVID-19 was officially declared a national emergency. This is also when many local governments implemented lockdown or stay-at-home orders for the first time.  Factories, manufacturing plants, and corporate offices were forced to temporarily close or move to remote work as a result of these government orders. This disrupted the supply chain and led to significant production delays. As the virus spread throughout the U.S., the automotive industry continued to suffer. Data reveals a clear correlation between COVID-19 infection rate and automotive sales. In other words, the states with the worst infection rates experienced the largest declines in automotive sales. The economy slowed and the unemployment rate skyrocketed due to this public health crisis. This led to a sharp decline in buyer confidence, which dropped nearly 30 points from May 2019 to May 2020. The lower the buyer confidence score, the less likely consumers are to spend.  Because consumers were not optimistic about their economic future, they decided to hold off on purchasing or leasing vehicles. At the height of the pandemic, over one-third of consumers who wanted or needed a new vehicle were putting off this purchase because of economic uncertainty. At the time, most consumers were only planning on putting off these purchases for two months, but many predicted that they would not purchase or lease a vehicle for another six months. The automotive industry as a whole continued to suffer even after lockdown and stay-at-home orders were lifted. Many consumers are still concerned about their job stability and the uncertainty in the market, which means they are hesitant to make large purchases right now. Despite lower financing and ownership costs, sales did not return to their pre-pandemic level. By the end of the year, new automotive sales had dropped nearly 15% to 14.5 million vehicles. The Outlook for the Automotive Industry Looks Promising in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-248.jpeg] WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY RECOVER IN 2021? There’s no question that the automotive industry suffered immense harm in 2020, mainly due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. But there is hope that the automotive industry will make a solid recovery over the next 12 months. Economists from the University of Michigan recently discussed the future of the automotive industry at the 68thAnnual Economic Outlook Conference. These economists revealed that they believe the sales slump caused by the global pandemic has created enough momentum for the automotive industry to rebound quickly in 2021. The panel of economists predicted that new automotive sales will climb to 16.3 million units by the end of 2021. Furthermore, these economists believe that the automotive industry will continue to grow in 2022, predicting that manufacturers will record 16.7 million new vehicle sales during this year. The University of Michigan economists aren’t the only ones who are predicting that automotive sales will increase in 2021. Cox Automotive, an international automotive services company, predicts that automotive sales will fall between 15.6 million to 16 million in 2021. This figure is lower than the one predicted by the University of Michigan economists, but it still represents a significant increase over 2021 sales. Some people are skeptical about these predictions, but early data shows that it is very likely that the automotive industry will bounce back over the next year.  As previously mentioned, data reveals that automotive sales were correlated with the COVID-19 infection rate. As the infection rate increased in a state, automotive sales in that state declined. But this data also reveals that the opposite is true. As the infection rate decreased, automotive sales increased. This indicates that automotive sales could return to pre-pandemic levels after widespread vaccination in the U.S. Financing rates and ownership costs are expected to stay low for now, which could also help the automotive industry’s recovery. These low interest rates and ownership costs could convince consumers who are on the fence to give in and purchase a new vehicle. WHAT CHALLENGES WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY FACE IN 2021? It’s true that most experts agree on the automotive industry’s ability to recover in 2021. But that does not mean that the road to recovery will be easy. To achieve success, automotive companies must be prepared to deal with a number of challenges that they will likely face in the year ahead. One of these challenges is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not yet been resolved. The several vaccines that have been produced will minimize this threat, but it remains to be seen how long it will take to distribute the vaccine and get the pandemic under control.  Until this happens, the COVID-19 pandemic could continue to disrupt normal operations within the automotive industry. Just last week, General Motors was forced to make changes that will affect their supply chain as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks at assembly plants in Mexico. Other automotive companies will undoubtedly face similar problems in 2021. These continued disruptions—along with production delays caused by lockdown and stay-at-home orders in 2020—will most likely lead to low inventory levels in the automotive industry in 2021 . Low inventory problems could limit consumers’ options and negatively impact the industry’s ability to recover. The Outlook for the Automotive Industry Looks Promising in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-249.jpeg] Automotive companies must also be prepared to deal with consumers who are hesitant to visit dealerships in person due to the threat of contracting COVID-19. Unless other options are available to consumers, this could hinder the automotive industry’s performance this year. Economists believe that the first half of the year will be the hardest for the automotive industry since the world is still grappling with the pandemic. To make it through this difficult time, economists believe that the automotive industry will need government assistance. This means the automotive industry’s ability to rebound could depend partly on whether or not the government passes additional stimulus packages over the next few months. Rising costs are also an issue for automotive manufacturers, according to a group of industry insiders who participated in a summit hosted by the Society of Automotive Analysts. These experts warned automotive manufacturers to prepare for rising labor, freight, and raw material costs, which could drastically reduce automotive profits. HOW CAN AUTOMOTIVE COMPANIES SUCCEED IN THIS UNCERTAIN MARKET? Recovery will not be easy for the automotive industry, but it is possible. There are certain steps that automotive companies can take now to increase their chances of succeeding and growing their business during these uncertain times. Automotive companies should be willing to invest in the digital world in order to make it through this challenging year. A growing number of consumers are embracing the idea of purchasing a vehicle online rather than in a dealership. In the U.S, 17% of consumers said they would like to complete the entire process of purchasing a new vehicle online, whereas 12% said they would like to complete at least some of the process online.  The Outlook for the Automotive Industry Looks Promising in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-250.jpeg] This shift to digital automotive sales will appeal to younger, tech-savvy consumers. It will also appeal to consumers who are still unwilling to visit a dealership in person due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Investing in a digital sales platform could help automotive companies win this segment of the population over.  If moving the entire sales process online is not an option, automotive companies should consider moving select aspects of the process online instead. For example, allow consumers to take a virtual test drive online. Or give them the option of scheduling a test drive online. Then, deliver the vehicle to their home for a contactless test drive experience. Automotive manufacturers should also focus on promoting special deals and discounts to consumers, who are still hesitant about spending large amounts of money. Highlight the record-low interest rates, declining ownership costs, and other financial benefits to purchasing a vehicle right now.  Focus on other areas of business, too. It’s estimated that 95% of people put off vehicle maintenance and 52% delayed vehicle repair last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that everything has reopened, target these consumers. Reaching out to these consumers could drive foot traffic, increase revenue, and more importantly, build relationships with customers who may need to purchase new vehicles in the future. The effects of the global COVID-19 crisis will continue to linger in the automotive industry in 2021. However, if experts are right, the automotive industry could start to return to some state of normalcy in the year ahead.

Augmented Reality Automotive Enhancements by Manufacturer

Augmented Reality Automotive Enhancements by Manufacturer

December 15, 2020

Augmented reality features are standard in many vehicles. The grid lines on the backup camera screen that show the turning radius of the vehicle is one common example regarding how automotive manufacturers utilize augmented reality to aid drivers. Many manufacturers go above and beyond these standard features and include upgraded elements that are punctuated by augmented reality technology. Luxury car models may offer advanced graphic displays and high-tech features that allow drivers to see around and behind the vehicle…with grid lines detailing everything. Here’s a comprehensive look at augmented reality automotive enhancements by manufacturers to showcase how this technology is driving and enhancing our vehicles, the way we view them and maybe even how we buy them. BMW BMW utilizes augmented reality beyond the actual vehicle. Mechanics working on BMW models are assisted in their work via augmented reality glasses. These glasses let mechanics communicate with remote teams and the glasses can bring up docs with info on the vehicle; Driving explains that this includes “technical bulletins.” Another site reported that in early 2020, BMW introduced its BMW i Interaction Ease, which is described as “a concept cabin for autonomous vehicles that combines an AR windshield, a contextual user interface, intelligent lighting, and a luxurious adaptable interior that looks more like a hotel suite than a passenger vehicle.” Posh! And extremely cutting edge! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-22.jpeg] DAIMLER Daimler is the manufacturer for Mercedes, which is, of course, a luxury brand. Daimler offers the Mercedes cAR app. Powered by augmented reality, the app allows consumers to browse Mercedes models in 3D. One of the designers noted that users can create their car and “…drive it through the room.” Yes, the car can appear in your living room…or kitchen. Slash Gear wrote about the Heads Up Display (HUD) for the Mercedes S Class (2021). The site noted that this will be “…the first production luxury car to feature a heads-up display powered by augmented reality.”A picture for the HUD showcases how AR will benefit the driver. A turn in the road is shown on the picture posted on the site, and the overlay data shows speed, directional arrows, and presumably the suggested speed for the turn. FORD Like many manufacturers, Ford’s models might include backup cameras as a standard feature. These cameras typically include overlay grid lines that show the turning radius. However, other cameras including those displaying front visual data also could be included (depending on the model). Ford’s unique augmented reality history, however, isn’t just about the data within the vehicles. Instead, Ford has made headlines for its use of augmented and virtual reality in car design. Ford’s Joel Piaskowski talked to Automobile Magazine about using virtual reality headsets to view in-progress models when executives had to work from home during the pandemic. Ford also uses HoloLens for car design; The Verge notes that augmented reality enables the team to display design updates on a car model (the actual car…not a model). Augmented reality gives the team a preview so they can see if it works! FIAT CHRYSLER Fiat Chrysler has an Immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) lab. The lab is listed under the Research & Innovation section of the company’s web site, and photos show how team members use the virtual space for various needs. In Turin, Italy, FCA also has the ImMErsive Technology room, “…where engineering and manufacturing teams can interact with the virtual twin of a plant, focusing on the layout of an assembly line, the placement of giant robots in the body shop, or the functionality of an individual workstation.” GENERAL MOTORS General Motors is looking at augmented reality HUDs for electric vehicles; the Wall Street Journal reported that GM (the venture capital side) acquired a ‘minority stake’ in Envisics, Inc. What about current features for GM models? Since GM is the parent company for brands like Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC, features may differ by brands and, of course, by model, too. However, backup cameras may be standard. And more advanced camera systems with AR components may be available, depending, again, on the model. GEELY Who is Geely? The company owns Volvo. We can, again, talk about typical AR elements for cameras, but for Volvo, talking about AR should focus on the partnership with Varjo to use headsets to evaluate safety features and assist in development. Volvo’s press release talked about the company’s investment in Varjo (through the company’s venture capital fund, Volvo Cars Tech Fund) and explained in detail how headsets were used: “Compared to its predecessor, the XR-1 adds high-definition cameras to the headset and enables mixed reality. This allows Volvo Cars designers and engineers to ‘drive’ future cars and evaluate all features in a simulation environment many years before they exist, enabling the company to develop the safest cars with the most refined user experience possible.” HONDA Years ago, Honda introduced HondaLens, an augmented reality journey into the Honda Accord’s history that also touched on the newest updates found with the 10th-generation Accord. HondaLens was showcased at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The latest from Honda? That might be an augmented reality steering wheel! According to Techeblog, the steering wheel controls braking and acceleration! HYUNDAI The Drive reported that Hyundai and Porsche were investing in augmented reality company startup WayRay. The site discussed the demo the companies (Hyundai and WayRay) gave at CES back in 2019 and that this could lead to an AR windshield in Hyundai models that might show drivers pertinent navigation data. The site noted, though, that “Hyundai would not say if the AR system will ever go into production, only that it will continue working with WayRay to refine the tech.” KIA Not sure if an electric car is for you? Kia has an app that may help you decide. Go Electric helps address all the questions that potential buyers might have about the electric models. The app lets users create their own electric car and preview the car in the real world; users can explore the car’s features, too. As electric cars are becoming more popular among consumers, Go Electric may help customers better understand all the benefits. NISSAN According to Mashable, Nissan’s getting ‘freaky’ with augmented reality. Mashable wrote about the Invisible-to-Visible Technology that Nissan is developing. Why does Mashable consider it ‘creepy?’ The new tech would allow for virtual avatars to join drivers on the journey. The Invisible-to-Visible technology can project blue skies on windows during not-so-nice days. And the technology also lets drivers peer around corners to prepare for any obstacles. Is it creepy? No way! It may be a cool future of augmented or virtual reality driving experiences. VOLKSWAGEN How does Volkswagen use augmented reality outside of cameras and other features? The company plans to use augmented reality to help “design production lines.” Designers will wear goggles that can show “…how existing and future equipment could interact in a real environment.” RENAULT In 2019, Renault began using augmented reality headsets to aid technicians in repair. The headsets allowed communication with the company’s tech support so technicians could always have access to assistance. CommercialFleet explained that “It will also enable them to capture images and videos, playback training videos and refer to manuals.” The AR experience is a bit like having reference manuals and a live assistant in one place…without picking up the phone or flipping through a manual. SUZUKI Suzuki brought augmented reality to motorcycles. Back in 2013, the company offered an app to let users preview its V-Strom 1000 in different colors and with different features. While today these apps are fairly common, seven years ago they weren’t common…and especially not for motorcycles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-186.jpeg] TOYOTA In partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi and Vertebrae, Toyota offered an augmented reality shopping experience. Customers can preview their car in a real backdrop. And the experience lets individuals look at the vehicle from any angle…Vertebrae notes that they can “walk around the vehicle.” Prospective buyers can use the experience to view the Rav4, Prius and Tundra. TESLA Proving that anything can be possible in the future, Electrek reported on Elon Musk talking about the potential for augmented reality in Tesla automobiles. Musk wasn’t talking about a HUD or some other navigation feature…he was mentioning AR games! Augmented reality games…in a Tesla! But it was VR Scout that posted Musk’s tweet, which read: “Anyone think they can get good multiplayer Minecraft working on Teslas? Or maybe create a game that interacts virtually with reality like Pokémon Go while driving safely? Like a complex version of Pac-man or Mario Kart?” If self-driving cars become the future of Tesla, playing augmented reality games in the car while the system is driving could be an entertaining way to pass time during a long commute. FERRARI Per a story in The Verge, in 2015, Ferrari (with Zspace) introduced the Ferrari AR app. Typically with brand-type apps, the user would create their car or change out colors, features, etc. using a virtual car in the app– a build-your-own element. Ferrari’s app worked in the actual showroom. With a tablet, the user could grab an image of a car in the showroom and modify it via the app. This made shopping—and customizing—a bit easier…and probably more fun, too. Another cool feature? The Verge reported that users could x-ray the car and see different mechanics inside. LAMBORGHINI In May, Lamborghini launched its Huracan EVO RWD Spyder in augmented reality; per its own announcement, it was the first company to officially launch a new model via augmented reality. The experience was powered by Apple and could be viewed on iPhones and iPads. The experience allowed users to explore the vehicle; one aspect of the experience allows users to click on parts of the car to learn more. The augmented reality experience lets users place the Huracan into their environment and walk around the car to check it out from all angles. PORSCHE “Tech Live Look” is augmented technology that’s geared for aiding technicians in repairs. Specialized glasses let technicians magnify tiny details during repairs, and the glasses will even illuminate shadowed areas to make visualization easier. Technicians also can send images of the issues to a team in Atlanta for extra assistance, according to a press release from Porsche. What the repair tech sees, so, too can the team in Atlanta. WHAT AUGMENTED REALITY IS IN YOUR CAR? Every manufacturer has delved into augmented reality differently, and in a way that works for their brands. Some used augmented reality in design, others used it for repairs or to heighten the shopping experience. There are, of course, many augmented reality ideas that are still in development or perhaps being considered for development. Those who own a newer car might drive with augmented reality assistance. Maybe you don’t even realize that augmented reality is impacting your drive. Grid lines showing directional turns on backup or front cameras are a very common example of augmented reality in our car. GPS functions that show the actual environment but superimpose graphics also are a form of augmented reality. As technology advances, augmented reality features and virtual reality features may become a regular part of our drive. Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible technology could become a reality in future models; drivers could have virtual companions in the car with them. Windows graphics could be used to make the cloudy days appear a bit brighter. If cars become self-driving, we could play augmented reality games during the commute. While some of these ideas sound space-age, are they really? Twenty years ago, many of us probably didn’t anticipate cameras would be a standard feature for cars. Yet, they are for many makes and models. We also once viewed a GPS as an expensive investment. Now our phones have convenient maps that can be connected onto the dash screen of our cars. WHAT ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY? While many manufacturers utilize augmented reality in-car features, virtual reality could be a part of the driving experience of the future, too. Again, if self-driving cars become the norm, we could have a variety of virtual experiences during the drive that are available to passengers. Virtual reality features could include virtual companions; maybe a sibling can pop up into the car for a virtual conversation. Their avatar could be displayed in a spare seat. Perhaps we could order food during our leisurely drive and maybe a friendly restaurant rep digitally appears in the car. Even emergency phone calls could involve the projection of a person to provide more comfort during a stressful, scary experience. Augmented reality is part of many drivers’ daily experiences. However, it’s very likely that more augmented reality features will wire into our vehicles. And virtual reality probably isn’t too far behind.

How Fiat Chrysler is using Augmentative & Virtual Reality

How Fiat Chrysler is using Augmentative & Virtual Reality

December 7, 2020

Using augmentative and virtual reality is now integral to a major automaker’s success. These new and innovative technologies are being embraced and being used in many aspects of the industry. The auto industry has changed vastly since its conception. Buyers no longer look to vehicles to get to experiences but instead look for vehicles that provide an encompassing experience during the drive. Augmentative and virtual reality was once all about creating virtual worlds that seemed to be exclusive to industries such as gaming. However, today, gaming is not the only one seeing a wide range of potential for this technology. As argumentative and virtual reality continues to advance, industries that have incorporated the technology into their processes have shaped the way augmentative and virtual reality are being utilized. The auto industry has completely embraced using augmentative and virtual reality in various sectors. Major automakers such as Ford and BMW are using augmentative and virtual reality to streamline and expand many of their processes from designing and manufacturing vehicles to sales. Fiat Chrysler in particular is focusing their augmentative and virtual reality uses towards the designing and creation of their vehicles as well as introducing a much more immersive and engaging buying experience for their customers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-176.jpeg] CREATING EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENTS Fiat Chrysler is using augmentative and virtual reality from the very beginning of their automobile process. This means not just integrating the technology into the process of creating a vehicle itself, but also using it to design its factories and plants. At the Fiat Chrysler facility in Turin, Italy, the ImMErsive Technology room is a highly-evolved virtual laboratory that has become a truly innovative haven for designing and testing new manufacturing and product development processes. This has been able to bring about a streamlined manufacturing process, reduced costs, and increases in quality and safety. Engineering and manufacturing leads can interact and manipulate a virtual version of a plant and manipulate the layout and functionality of the various work settings within the plant. This added layer of control helps to make manufacturing for Fiat even quicker and allows various teams to collaborate with one another. Teamwork and collaborative creating is a key benefit to using augmentative and virtual reality for the Fiat Chrysler teams that are working in the ImMErsive Technology room. Sessions can take place using two different systems. Using tools such as virtual reality headsets and controllers, workers can be paired together to work on the layout of a factory and virtually move around equipment as well as take measurements of the layout. Another way workers can collaborate is through the “Power Wall” which is a six-meter-wide screen that pairs with stereo glasses and a controller that allows workers and teams to collaborate and discuss plant or factory layouts, issues, design modifications, enhancements, etc. Teams can connect remotely using this technology to create a truly immersive virtual meeting that brings a more hands-on and collaborative experience. Often communication between teams can take up a big chunk of the design process. As one team makes modifications, the other has changes that will need to also be implemented. Instead of creating a neverending back and forth, this technology helps teams to collaborate in real-time on a model which helps to create a quicker line of communication and a clearer form of context. The ImMErsive Technology room is especially useful for software engineers who can use it to program and simulate robotics before actually utilizing them in plants. Fine-tuning the systems and software needed in development and production is often one of the most expensive and intensive parts of the automotive development and manufacturing process. Allowing software engineers to test out and work on these robotics using augmented and virtual reality can allow for a cheaper and more efficient process. The use of augmented and virtual reality in the ImMErsive Technology room has helped Fiat Chrysler to significantly cut costs and create a more effective and efficient manufacturing process without sacrificing their high-quality standards. By using augmentative and virtual reality to help design the actual manufacturing process, Fiat is among the first to use such advanced technology in such a way. While many other major automakers are integrating augmentative and virtual reality in areas after production, such as with repair technicians or dealerships, Fiat has focused on implementing the technology at an often overlooked but pivotal area in manufacturing automobiles, the plants themselves. In using this technology at the primary level, Fiat has been able to create a production line that detects issues earlier on and is able to fix them before a vehicle is even sent into production. This has cut down costs in manufacturing and has elevated their standards of quality as well as overall safety. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-177.jpeg] CREATING EXPERIENCES FOR BUYERS Along with innovation at the manufacturing level, Fiat Chrysler is bringing new forms of augmentative and virtual reality to their dealerships and showrooms. Bringing the immersive experience of purchasing a vehicle to their buyers in a much more hands-on approach. Roadshows are often the primary way consumers and the market, in general, can view upcoming vehicles and models. Roadshows are often a way to showcase new and innovative tech that major automakers are adopting in order to one-up their competition. Fiat Chrysler drummed up interest in its new vehicle in 2014 by creating an immersive experience for their audiences. In order to attract and mesmerize viewers, Fiat created a driving sequence that goes above and beyond the rest. Featuring the magician Dynamo, the film integrated virtual reality headsets that allowed viewers to feel as if they are sitting in the car as Dynamo controls the ride. This gives the viewer a feel for what it might be like to actually sit in the vehicle. Fiat also made the film available to view on phones using Google’s mobile virtual reality service, Cardboard. This marketing strategy helped to build excitement and interest around the 500X which was released at the time. The experience since then has become a staple at roadshows and many other major automakers now incorporate a similar experience to their roadshow displays. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-178.jpeg] CREATING CUSTOM VEHICLES VIRTUALLY Fiat Chrysler has introduced a new way to shop for vehicles. Built by tech company Accenture Digital using Google’s Project Tango, Fiat Chrysler is introducing a more customizable and interactive shopping experience for consumers. “It’s the future of the dealership,” said Matteo Albberti, digital innovation lead for Accenture Interactive, in an interview with cNet, “We can give the perfect experience to the customer.” The future of dealerships will eventually rely heavily on [virtual showrooms][10] that buyers can access from the comfort of their homes. Startup companies like RelayCars are banking on the trend that more and more consumers are buying online and the shift to buying cars online will be inevitable. Consumers are also looking for ways to get more customization for their vehicles and a great way to see this before purchasing is by using a virtual showroom or apps that are using augmentative and virtual reality to project a model of a vehicle that can be modified. Many major automakers are already using virtual showrooms to allow greater access for their potential buyers to view vehicles that are available for purchase. However, Fiat Chrysler takes it one step further with their new augmented reality shopping experience. Using the Project Tango based device, shoppers are able to view a full-scale Fiat 500 on the screen as if the vehicle is right in front of them. The device uses motion and location sensors to help users view the car at different angles. The device even allows for users to “ go into” a car to view the interior of the vehicle with highly detailed 3D images. The experience becomes multi-sensory as users are even able to tap on the radio to play music and honk the horn. Users can also modify and customize their vehicle on the program, both the interior and exterior. This gives consumers so many more options than ever before and allows them to view versions that might not even be available at the dealership. In fact, most major automakers are using these advanced technologies in various ways. However, few seem to be taking the approach that Fiat Chrysler is with the technology. Most automakers are seemingly using augmentative and virtual reality in very similar ways to the point that its usage is almost cliched in the field. Fiat Chrysler has decided to use these innovative forms of technology not just to be a top player in the game, but to use it to create meaningful and creative connections and solutions for their workers and consumers.