It will soon become a trend for automakers to deliver their cars with companion AR apps to help drivers troubleshoot any problems they may have quickly and more efficiently.
A couple of months ago I wrote about Audi’s AR car manual, and under different circumstances, I would say that VW is stealing that idea. However, Audi is part of the Volkswagen group, so the German concern just shifted the concept from one of its brands to another. There is yet another difference between Audi’s AR app and VW’s counterpart. While Audi plans to provide such augmented reality troubleshooting manuals with normal cars such as the post-2012 A1, A3 and S3, Volkswagen’s AR app will only work with its XL1 supercar, which is one of the most fuel-efficient automobile on the planet.
After installing the app on the iPad, taking the supercar apart in order to repair whatever is broken should be very easy. I assume that in order to pinpoint the problem, users would have to use this augmented reality manual in the same manner as the one for Audi. This means that the component requiring troubleshooting would have to be placed right in front of the iPad’s camera and inside the selection box.
According to Metaio and VW, upon launching the app, mechanics will see a virtual XL1 overlaid on the real one. As soon as everything is lined up, the app starts displaying a set of steps that need to be taken, along with a list of required tools. Real and virtual parts should coincide, and if they don’t, the mechanics would see that right away.
I have the same problem with this app that I had with Audi’s augmented reality manual: it only comes for iOS, and Android users are neglected. On top of that, while Audi’s app was built with the iPhone in mind, VW’s manual only works on the iPad. In other words, at least two mechanics should troubleshoot this car at any given time. One needs to hold the iPad and align it properly, while the other one would have to do the dirty work. I don’t even want to know how an iPad would look with grease and motor oil marks on it.