Augmented reality apps, where the camera and a smartphone are used to overlay important information on top of real images, is a concept that has been around for awhile. Audi, never missing an opportunity to promote the advancement of technology, has unveiled their app that is designed to replace the owner’s manual in their vehicles. It will provide the driver with information about warning lights and diagnostic codes, as well as helping identify unknown parts of the vehicle. This should bring a little less confusion to maintaining a complex automobile.
Audi is not the first company to provide an owner’s manual electronically (the Hyundai Equus has already done it), but it is the first to feature full augmented reality. If the driver is unsure of what a particular button does, he or she can take a picture of it and the app will identify what it is. Full owner’s manual information will be available on the phone’s screen for the driver to process.
If a warning light illuminates on the instrument cluster, the driver can take a picture of that warning light with the app. It will identify what the warning light is and inform the driver. In addition, if the warning light is related to a fluid like coolant, the driver can open the hood of the vehicle and the phone will direct the driver to the right area of the engine bay to put in the fluid. The driver simply holds the camera up to the engine compartment, and the app will show an arrow over top of the area that he or she needs.
Regular preventative maintenance, like checking fluid levels and tire pressure, is important to having a reliable and safe vehicle. As vehicles become more and more complex, even basic maintenance may seem like a daunting task. Introducing augmented reality as a training tool should make the experience less stressful and also make vehicles safer.