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DTNA pilot shows success of augmented reality smart glasses for future of aftermarket service

woman wearing a facemark and a HoloLens

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has announced the success of its initial pilot with Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology as a viable method of virtual collaboration with dealers and customers.

"The global pandemic has had an impact on every facet of the industry, causing businesses across all sectors to re-evaluate how they interact with their customers," said Lutz Beck, chief information officer at DTNA. "One of the key questions that DTNA asked itself last year is how can we transform the future of service with technology to better collaborate with our dealer partners and customers. We believe that HoloLens is one of the ways in which we answer this question."

In testing, DTNA leveraged a combination of Microsoft technologies, including the HoloLens 2 platform, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, and Teams, to enable service technicians to connect directly to DTNA subject matter experts across the organization who were able to project service manuals, schematics, and other documentation across their field of vision while troubleshooting vehicle repairs.

Created by Microsoft in 2016, with a second iteration released in 2019, the HoloLens 2 features augmented reality smart glasses that run on the Windows Mixed Reality operating system. This technology has already shown signs of promise within Daimler's passenger car business, with successful pilots across dealerships in Germany and the United States.

"This is one of the many solutions we are exploring to address the growing concerns of technician training and availability, with the added benefit of allowing for better social distancing," stated Stefan Kurschner, senior vice president of Aftermarket at DTNA.  "The HoloLens technology could be a game-changer for driving 24-hour or less repair turnaround, reducing the training time for technicians, as well as time spent in the service bay focused on vehicle repair and throughput."

Further trials will be held to determine if the HoloLens platform can be fully adapted to DTNA's aftermarket needs. The company has not released a timeline as to when the technology will be deployed to its dealer partners.

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