In the near future, Audi aims to be the first manufacturer to make its vehicle production processes to be more operator-friendly by adopting augmented and virtual reality technology, combining them with data glasses and hand projection.
Nestled within Audi AG is a department called Audi Production Lab, whose role is to support Audi employees working in the production line by making cars and processes that are more assembly friendly.
The production planners at Audi Production Lab is currently working to improve interaction of humans and machines using augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).
“Three approaches could be of particular interest to Audi: tablets, data glasses and hand projection. All three have the potential to support production employees with their tasks,” says Jens Dehlke.
Hand projection is one solution which Audi thinks offers great potential to deliver operating instructions to an assembly line operator in a non-intrusive manner. Instructions like “check oil level” can be projected onto the palm of the wearer’s hand by means of a compact infrared sensor and a small laser projector strapped over the operator’s shoulder, controlled by a laptop kept inside a backpack.
A sensor measures the distance to the hand and its position, in order to adjust the projection. The projected image disappears as soon as the user closes his or her hand, so it never disturbs the user while carrying out a task.
It’s not quite what Tony Stark is able to do with Jarvis yet, but it’s a baby step towards it.