ŠKODA AUTO is testing an augmented reality application – known as HoloLens glasses – to assist with production line maintenance. For example, manuals, maintenance checklists and other documents can be projected as holographic images into the user’s immediate field of vision. The view through the AR glasses can also be shared during video conferences and used for training purposes.
Miroslav Kroupa, Head of Brand Management at ŠKODA AUTO, explained: “As part of our current pilot project, we are relying on augmented reality to optimize the maintenance and repair of our machines and to minimize the error rate. With the HoloLens glasses, our technicians have all the relevant information at a glance at all times and can concentrate fully on their work at the same time. In this way, the AR glasses help to further increase work safety. The tool makes it possible to exchange information flexibly anywhere and at any time, even with colleagues at other locations or in different time zones. This speeds up maintenance processes significantly and is an enormous advantage, especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the glasses add gamification elements to everyday work and inspire young candidates for technical professions.”
The carmaker’s Central Technical Service department and the ŠKODA AUTO FabLab are testing the use of augmented reality technologies in production line maintenance as part of a pilot project. During video calls, technicians can use the HoloLens glasses to show what they see on the line and consult with colleagues who are not on site. The glasses can also be used to share technical files and other documents.
Furthermore, the AR glasses can display holograms of manuals, checklists and instructions during technical maintenance. Once the staff have scanned a QR code on the respective equipment, the embedded documents interactively guide them through the maintenance work step by step with photos and videos, among other things. This allows the technicians to be hands-free at all times. Once a task has been completed, the technician ticks it off with a hand movement in the hologram.
This AR technology reduces the likelihood of making a mistake, enables service intervals to be carried out on a more flexible basis, and speeds up the maintenance process. Any remaining service requirement is recorded on the internal system via the Wi-Fi connection. HoloLens glasses also make repair work much easier as – thanks to the video instructions – it is no longer necessary to refer to bulky technical manuals.
The HoloLens consists of the actual glasses, which make holograms visible, and a camera-projector unit. The lenses allow for excellent peripheral vision, with virtual displays complementing the real surroundings. The visor can be flipped up at any time to step out of the mixed reality.