Part Two: Mitchell International Highlights Augmented Reality in the Industry

Mitchell International, the parent company of National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS), highlighted new industry trends that include augmented reality impacting the industry in its 2020 Third Quarter Industry Trends Report.

glassBYTEs previously highlighted the view of Ryan Mandell, the company’s claims performance director for its auto physical damage unit concerning the increased need for calibrations for newer vehicles and the importance of pre-and post-scanning.

According to Mitchell’s CEO and president Alex Sun, augmented reality (AR) overlays virtual elements onto the real world and enhances the existing environment with additional data. “It’s this kind of augmentation of the real world that makes it easier to accomplish complicated jobs or difficult tasks,” he said.

Sun notes several auto makers have been experimenting with AR for a few decades to assist drivers navigating on unfamiliar roads or when handling certain maneuvers. As a result, there was a rise in back-up cameras that highlight vehicle turning paths and warned of close objects, as well as many improvements in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), according to the report.

“Heads-Up Displays in vehicles—a technology that’s been attempted many times over the years—looks like it is about to become the next big thing,” said Sun. “Both Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are introducing AR displays for upcoming 2021 models that provide information overlays on a driver’s windshield.”

Sun noted that these displays can highlight intersections, display distances to vehicles ahead, and can guide drivers through roundabouts. These advancements and tools may improve driver awareness and safety, but Sun explains, like other ADAS they will increase the complexity and cost of repairs.

“The good news is that extended reality can also help support the automobile repair process,” Sun explained. “At Mitchell, we’ve talked about the use of extended reality (XR) headsets in automobile repair to give technicians hands-free access to resources they need for a repair, during the repair, without having to stop what they’re doing. With these tools, a repair technician can view up-to-date procedures at the same time as they’re working on a vehicle.”

According to Sun, the industry has seen a greater use of virtual reality and XR in the age of COVID-19 in the form of virtual options for industry events and conferences. “This kind of virtual experience might not work in every situation—I still prefer seeing videos of actual people presenting—but it’s an interesting way to maintain social distancing while still letting people gather and interact,” he said.

“Extended reality isn’t just a future vision—it’s here, and the use cases for the property and casualty industries are growing quickly,” said Sun. “XR has the ability transform the way we interact with customers, our colleagues, and the work we need to do, both now and in the future.”

To read the full report, click here.

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