Porsche Unveils VR Drone Program Called Alice to Train Car Mechanics
Porsche Service Engineers around the world will now be able to more easily master complex technical concepts, thanks to VR and a drone called Alice.
But for those who think this means a drone will be flying around the service centre, think again.
Introduced to assist the Porsche engineers perform after-sales service tasks, Alice can only be experienced in virtual reality.
“We have programmed a talking drone to act as a personal assistant so that people do not feel so alone,” says Christian Binder, project manager for New Qualification Media.
Alice does not purely exist to keep engineers company however. VR glasses are increasingly used by technicians in all markets as a whole new way to prepare for more advanced instructor training.
By guiding mechanics through the various steps required to repair components, Alice ensures that each individual movement can be safely practiced.
The Porsche Service Center in Ludwigsburg, Germany, is one service centre that is taking advantage of the opportunities offered by virtual reality to prepare for the future.
The value of this new technology was demonstrated with a realistic 3D model of a Panamera 4 E-Hybrid sitting in the middle of a virtual (and otherwise empty) workshop hall, as Porsche described in a press release.
Marc Wörsching, one of Binder’s colleagues, describes an example of the advantages of such training. “A good example of content covered in the VR program is the procedure for repairing high voltage batteries. Topics such as these are the first candidates for early exposure before attending an instructor-led training course.”
The VR system allows the engineer to examine the large 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery at the rear of the vehicle from all angles. By all accounts, it does not take long to get used to the controller, as the line of sight follows the natural movements of the user’s head.
Binder points out another advantage of VR training: “The content we have identified as the most important can be delivered directly to our technicians exactly as we wish, avoiding the ‘Chinese Whispers’ effect that we have sometimes encountered previously. We never knew if the recipients saw and heard the right information. As a project manager, he is very clear about the core target group for virtual reality training: ”
Around 8,000 technicians work in Porsche service centres around the world. Through the use of Alice and the VR system, technical hurdles can be overcome before beginning the task of servicing Porsche cars in the real world.
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