Next time you take your
in for service, watch to see if a little white stand is following your mechanic around. It's not some new measurement tool for your car; it's a actually a robot being controlled remotely to improve vehicle service. While bots playing a role in building cars is nothing new, the company is taking things a step further in the US by introducing
Robotic Telepresence to assist
the brand's vehicles. The droids are already being used in a pilot program at about 18 dealers nationwide with plans to have it at 100 in the near future.
At the moment, ART, as its called, is more R2-D2 than
. It certainly won't be doing any wrenching on your
anytime soon because it doesn't even have arms. Instead, the robot comprises a remote-controlled stand with multiple cameras, a microphone and speakers. The bot is operated remotely by Audi Technical Assistance consultants and Technical Field Managers who can talk back-and-forth with mechanics about vehicle service and help to remotely diagnose problems. The droid is even equipped with a handheld camera and borescope to reach into tiny crevices.
Audi claims that ART is the first system of its kind to directly link automakers with technicians at the dealer level in this way and leads to faster, more accurate service for customers.
to watch a video of the bot in action and read the release for the current list of participating dealers.