The automotive industry continues to change and evolve year after year. Now, innovations in augmented reality (AR) are being incorporated into the automotive industry.
According to a recent study, the global augmented reality automotive market is projected to reach USD 9 Billion by 2025 due to the growth in technological advancements, growing connected vehicles, and growing consumer demand for more in-vehicle safety features.
The global augmented reality automotive market’s consistent growth and demand is also dependent on the region, with North America dominating the market in 2019 and will likely continue to rise in the next five years alone.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in Automotive
Automotive companies’ investments in augmented reality can greatly benefit drivers in many ways such as:
- Enhanced auto retail experience
- Convenient shopping and buying research
- Increased safety features
- Advancements in self-driving automobiles
Augmented reality can also benefit manufacturers by:
- Easier design and prototype creation
- Streamlining assembly process
- Increased speed and safety for car repairs
How will augmented reality affect drivers?
Augmented reality will likely change the way that drivers shop for cars as well as enhance the driving experience.
For the most part, it seems that augmented reality will actually make roads safer as the primary usage for AR in vehicles seems to focus on safety features. However, an increasing demand in self-driving cars will likely also drive the market in the future.
Changes in buying because of COVID-19, but lasting consumer preferences
This projected increase could also be in part to changes in how consumers shop for automobiles. In general, online retail and spending has continued to increase year after year.
Many online retailers are incorporating augmented reality into their online shopping experience. You can now find options for “virtual try-ons” on many online retail shops such as Warby Parker which uses such technology to allow customers to “try on” glasses before ordering them.
Auto retail has also adopted online retail techniques but has not caught up to the complete augmented reality experience, until now.
The impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ purchasing practices has forced the automotive market to completely rethink their selling techniques and consumer shopping experience, and this new experience in auto retail is likely to be a permanent shift.
The global augmented reality automotive market’s boost can likely be attributed to the higher demand in online and at-home shopping experiences. With augmented reality and virtual reality, consumers can now “try on” a car from the comfort of their homes.
Virtual showrooms are increasingly the way buyers prefer their car shopping experience. Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable before purchasing. Even if they are planning on viewing the vehicle in-person, many buyers prefer to research and view the car before going to a dealership.
They can now view not just the exterior of a car but also the interior as if they are actually sitting inside the vehicle. They can even view color options and added features before purchasing and can view all these options without ever having to go to a dealership.
This change in consumer shopping habits plays a big role in the increased demand in augmented reality and virtual reality availability.
Fulfill consumer in-vehicle safety demands
Along with a shift in how buyers choose to shop for a car, the automotive industry needs to meet the demands and needs of today’s consumers.
The demand for more in-vehicle safety features has also helped to fuel the global augmented reality automotive market. Drivers are increasingly looking for safety features in a car that anticipates and avoids accidents.
More and more buyers are looking for vehicles that have more advanced and innovative safety features such as blind spot detection and panoramic rear views. These safety features can often make-or-break a buyer’s choice.
Augmented reality in the automotive market can also satisfy consumer’s increasing demands for self-driving vehicles in the future. Tesla already has self-driving features in their vehicles, and it is likely they will merge these features with their AR developments in future vehicles.
Current usage of AR in cars
Augmented reality might seem like something futuristic, but many auto companies are already implementing AR into their vehicles.
Many companies are also using augmented reality for their vehicle’s manuals. A driver can download an accompanying app and use the app and computer vision to identify features in the car then learn more about use as well as give important information about maintenance.
Another current usage of AR in vehicles are heads up displays (HUD). Many automotive companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Mazda already have vehicles that use this form of AR to help enhance the driving experience.
Vehicles with HUD use augmented reality to project data for the driver such as:
- Gas levels
- Lane guidance
- Parking assistance
This information is projected onto the windshield so that drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road even for a second. With more advancements in AR, drivers will be able to receive more real-time data as they drive and have more control without ever looking away from the road.
The overall potential of AR in automobiles helps to create a more enhanced experience for drivers that will also help reduce traffic accidents and improve longevity of vehicles.
What changes can augmented reality bring to the automotive market?
The massive growth in the global augmented reality automotive market will not only bring changes and improvements to consumer experience and use, but it will also bring changes to design, manufacturing, and the auto repair industry.
Design and prototypes
Designing and creating prototypes for vehicles can be extremely costly and time consuming. However, using augmented reality, manufacturers can utilize existing models and overlay them with new designs and elements.
Some automobile companies are also utilizing smart glasses to design vehicles. It is also a great way for collaboration on projects as edits on designs can be made immediately and shared with all participants.
AR also helps to prevent costly manufacturing of prototypes. Immediate changes and improvements can be made to a virtual model rather than creating new physical prototypes with each design change.
Along with designing new vehicles, AR can help to streamline and boost accuracy in car assembly.
Much of the car assembly process is actually still manual which can lead to errors and often makes for a slower process. However, AR can help to optimize the process of assembly to make it quicker, more accurate, and safer for workers.
Some car manufacturers are looking into how to utilize augmented reality technology such as smart glasses to help production.
Information would be displayed for workers and they can follow step-by-step instructions that are overlaid on specific parts. This can make the manual process more accurate and helps reduce human errors.
Another way manufacturers, such as Tesla, are hoping to utilize AR in the assembly process is to use it as a form of quality inspection as the AR applications can scan for inaccuracies and precise measurements.
AR in car repair
Augmented reality is helping automotive technicians to be able to perform complex repairs and maintenance to vehicles more accurately and quickly.
Just as car manufacturers are providing drivers with AR manuals, they are providing similar interactive manuals for repairs. Many companies already implement this technology for their technicians. They use the manuals on mobile devices such as tablets to view step-by-step instructions. This helps to increase accuracy and makes the repair process quicker.
New advances in augmented reality is helping to create innovative tools to help auto technicians connect to other support services quicker.
In 2017, Porsche launched a new pilot program called Tech Live Look that incorporates using AR smart glasses.
The technician wears the glasses as they are working and when they need assistance they can contact a remote support service worker. Through the AR smart glasses the remote worker can view exactly what the auto technician is working on and can guide them through the process.
The pilot program in several Porsche dealerships showed a 40% reduction in repair time and the company now plans to expand the use of augmented reality to all their dealerships.
Global investments in augmented reality boosts automotive market
The growth and investment in the global augmented reality automotive market will change the automotive industry in many ways. While it will be costly to implement AR, it will actually save money for both manufacturers and drivers in the long run.
Manufacturers will be able to design and produce vehicles easier, quicker, and more reliably. Drivers will have increased safety measures resulting in fewer car accidents, and they will see longevity in their vehicles with more enhanced safety and maintenance features.
Investing in augmented reality can also help boost an automotive company’s appeal to consumers through virtual showrooms and dealerships.
RelayCars can help enhance the virtual showroom experience with high quality images and an immersive online experience. Using RelayCars, shoppers can carefully research cars they are looking to purchase before even stepping foot in the dealership.