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5 Futuristic Auto Repair Technologies


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Augmented Reality
Volkswagen will introduce an augmented reality interface called MARTA for its upcoming VW XL1 -- an all-new, fuel-efficient, aerodynamic production car which features an intricate diesel-hybrid drivetrain. (Courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.)
Volkswagen will introduce an augmented reality interface called MARTA for its upcoming VW XL1 -- an all-new, fuel-efficient, aerodynamic production car which features an intricate diesel-hybrid drivetrain. (Courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.)

New cars feature complicated and sometimes dangerous (to service technicians) electronic or hybrid drivetrains, increasingly detailed computerized components, upgraded safety systems to meet new federal regulations, and a labyrinth of sensors everywhere that control practically everything. These expensive components are already changing how cars are repaired. But even more changes are on the horizon. Soon, augmented reality might mean that auto technicians might sport Google Glass headsets that feed visual information about the car to a computer that guides the mechanic through the process, and an app program that can help the technician visualize areas that are out of view or out of reach. Volkswagen was among the first manufacturers to float the idea of such technology, and introduced an interface called MARTA for the upcoming VW XL1, which features an intricate diesel-hybrid drivetrain [source: Okulski]. MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) can save technicians valuable time learning the ins and outs of an unusual vehicle, and, Volkswagen hopes, may even improve safety on the job. Researchers say that someday, augmented reality apps might be written for consumers to use for repairs on-the-go, paired with smartphone cameras. Future versions of augmented reality technology might even replace the traditional paper owner's manual booklet [source: Stewart].


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