Think of them as Google Glasses for Porsche dealership service technicians—except that these devices, unlike their ill-fated predecessors, actually work.
Porsche Cars North America is completing the rollout of its Tech Live Look program at its 189 U.S. dealerships. The effort uses online augmented-reality technology to enable dealership techs to communicate directly with Porsche's Atlanta-based technical support team about thorny repair issues in real time in such a way that the factory experts see what the tech sees.
This collaboration happens when the technician dons lightweight glasses with advanced projection technology, including a high-resolution video camera. A mechanic's flashlight illuminates the darkest nooks and crannies under a vehicle's hood or other difficult-to-see areas. Special earphones enable the dealership tech to speak with experts at Porsche's U.S. headquarters.
Porsche says Tech Live Look is reducing the time required to identify technical problems and perform challenging repairs by as much as 40 percent.
Doug House, technical support manager for Porsche Cars North America, directs the four specialists who staff the hotline at headquarters in Atlanta, along with 11 regional field representatives who work with Tech Live Look. All U.S. Porsche dealerships will take part in the program by early this year, he says.
"Our response time to a dealer is about 45 minutes," Mr. House told Fixed Ops Journal. "The average call length is about 11 minutes. With Tech Live Look, you can see what the guy is talking about instead of relying on him to describe it to you."
The new technology enables precise recalibration of cameras to specific distances and heights to capture needed images, Mr. House said. It also permits precise measurement of high-voltage batteries on electric and hybrid vehicles.
"We use it to make sure we are following safe procedures because of the amount of voltage we are dealing with," he said. "Technical experts and the dealership technicians are more comfortable because they make sure measurements are performed in a safe and proper manner. It makes our people comfortable."
Other auto makers are using new technology, including robotics, to connect dealership technicians with factory experts. Audi's Robotic Telepresence system employs onboard diagnostic systems to enable members of Audi's national tech center team in suburban Detroit to see what a tech in a service bay sees.