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The New ART of the Service Department

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On: Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 1:31PM | By: Karen Cook

The New ART of the Service Department

The future of the service and maintenance jobs is happening right in front of our eyes at Audi dealerships across the nation. The manufacturer is mixing remote controlled robots with expert technicians to diagnose problems in a faster, more accurate way.

Audi of America has partnered with VGo Communications robotics firm to create the Audi Robotic Telepresence, or ART for short. It’s not a robot in the normal sense. It can’t do anything by itself, but it does provide a platform for a real live human being at Audi headquarters to virtually be in a dealership service bay with the mechanics.

ART has a screen mounted at the top on which the face of the Audi expert can be seen, and through which the expert can see. It is remotely controlled and capable of allowing the operator to maneuver around a vehicle to inspect it, via a direct audio and video link, alongside the mechanics actually present. There’s an attached borescope and handheld camera to inspect hard to reach places. The expert and the mechanics have one-on-one real time interaction which greatly improves the internal process of communication. This technology does away with phone calls and having to attempt to explain technical issues to an absent, unseen person.

Audi believes ART will speed up maintenance and repair work, and increase the service capacity at its dealerships. The robot has been tested at 18 dealerships so far and Audi plans to have it operating at 82 more in the near future. This is the first remote controlled service robot of its kind.

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