What if you could view your car’s spec profile without even looking at the dashboard? No, this is not any Batman movie but augmented reality in the automobile industry. Car manufacturers across the globe are fueling innovation using this technology to offer a better, safer and improved driving experience for consumers. It’s estimated that the total augmented reality automotive market will grow at an annual rate of 177% for the next 4 years and reach $5.5 billion by 2022. With lots of potential, what this innovative technology has to offer to this industry? Let’s dive deeper.
For starters, Augmented Reality or AR is the technology that augments or enhances a user’s real-world experience by superimposing digital visual elements.
Highlights of AR in automotive industry
There is no limit to AR functionalities in automotive products. They are effectively serving both the manufacturers and the drivers.
- Several manufacturers are experimenting with Heads Up Displays (HUDs) to project the speed, gas levels and important driving information on the windshield
- Instead of long, complex owner manuals, drivers can download the mobile app to identify the specific features of the cabin.
- Virtual windscreens help drivers with navigation functions, warnings and settings for radio and telephone.
- Auto engineers can virtually install different engine variants into an existing chassis saving developmental costs and time.
- Display of important information and emergency notifications, like pedestrian crossing the road and other obstacles, on the driver’s visual field preventing any accidents
- Researchers are also developing systems for ego-lane analysis such as lane-change detection, lane marking type classification, road markings detection, detection of adjacent lanes, and more.
- Some brands are letting car drivers opt for an AR passenger who can interact and join in co-piloting.
- AR apps for the automobile industry are helping in easier maintenance through guided, step-by-step interactive repair instructions and manuals with actual demonstrations hovering on screen. The manual can also be installed on the AR glasses through which technical workers can view detailed images of mechanical issues and repairs.
- Another instance would be in case of a functional failure where drivers can instantly open the AR app and understand the issue to react better before making guesses.
- Real-world points of interest can easily locate parking lots and gas stations
Unique buying experience
So you’re eyeing on the latest models of your favourite auto brand. What could be the better way to assess the features than taking a virtual tour? Yes, car dealers are using AR in their websites for prospective buyers to interact with life-sized 3D vehicles to “touch”, “look”, “sit” inside, walk around, and “feel” it on their driveways. This also comes as a lucrative option, given the imperative social distancing and other hygiene protocols in a post-pandemic world. Customers can even virtually alter the colour and finish and customize it further to find their best fit before ordering.
What does the future hold?
After successful autonomous cars hitting the road, now AR is the next big milestone, a game-changing technology. Right from planning the production plant, developing new products, speeding up the prototyping process, enhancing quality control, transforming the car retail space and improving the driving experience AR has just started to disrupt the sector. In the coming years, we could witness the tech giants driving the way forward in more advanced AR capabilities.