Audi is pioneering a new method of vehicle repair and service with the ART Robot, a human-sized device that allows local Audi technicians to directly communicate with Audi of America engineers located back at HQ — in real time, just as if the two were standing side by side.
The new robot, whose full name is Audi Robotic Telepresence, is capable of moving around a vehicle and inspecting items with a borescope and hand-held camera system. A video monitor allows both people to see each other and the issues related to the vehicle repair.
The ART Robot is designed to give local technicians technical support with difficult repairs or unusual problems that may occur. Audi is initially rolling out 100 of the ART Robots at dealerships across the U.S. in hopes of streamlining the repair process and cutting service times for intricate repairs.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi Robotic Telepresence.
Why It Matters
The days of shade-tree mechanics are long gone with the cars of today. Their electrical components, microscopic mechanical tolerances, and extreme level of engineering means the technicians working on these cars are more likely to have four-year degrees than at any time before.
Even still, Audi is looking to make its corporate engineers available for issues that may arise. This technology will also likely come in hand if a recall investigation is needed or when collecting information on common problems found in similar vehicles across the country.
As mentioned before the jump, Audi is expecting to have roughly 100 ART units in dealerships throughout the U.S. Those dealers need nothing more than Wi-Fi with a decent connection. The operator simply needs a generic computer or even a tablet to control the ART unit. Audi hasn’t mentioned a specific timeline for its rollout of the new Robo-technicians, but will likely start putting units in place this year.
Maintenance is part of any vehicle ownership experience, and streamlined service visits are crucial predictors of improved customer satisfaction. That is why Audi is launching a first-of-its-kind communications robot to help Audi dealership technicians quickly diagnose and troubleshoot repair issues that they may encounter.
The innovative Audi Robotic Telepresence (ART) provides a one-on-one virtual link that connects dealers across the country with expert technicians at Audi of America. This telepresence allows those technicians to inspect and help service vehicles as if they were standing alongside the local dealer technicians.
This level of service precision is accomplished through ART’s physical design: the system is an advanced, remotely controlled robot that displays the operator’s face on a screen while permitting the ability to move around the vehicle. ART enables Audi Technical Service teams to interact and converse with service technicians at local dealerships, even while physically in a different location. An attached borescope and handheld camera allow the operator to further inspect engine components and other difficult-to-reach parts of the vehicle.
Audi Technical Assistance consultants will be the primary operators of ART, as well as more regionally based Technical Field Managers. Dealerships with an ART robot simply need a Wi-Fi® connection for a remote Technical Service consultant to access the device using a computer or tablet.
“ART was designed with both Audi technicians and consumers in mind,” said Brian Stockton, General Manager, Technical Support, Audi of America. “The device will give local service technicians valuable one-on-one interaction with their counterparts at Audi of America, which will not only benefit the speed and depth of service at the dealer level, but create an improved ownership experience for the customer in general.”
Audi of America expects to have ART units in 100 dealers across the U.S.