Virtual Reality in the Auto Shop

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MedVideoWindowRightGray-BlkWe’re always seeking feedback from our customers and they respond very positively.  Over the years we’ve incorporated suggestions for new service topics for our video library.  We’ve also gotten a lot of suggestions along the lines of “things I wish my customers knew”: things like how challenging and, yes, difficult it can be to diagnose and repair modern vehicles; how preventive maintenance is in the best interest of both the shop and the consumer; and that there’s a genuine desire for a trusting relationship.

A suggestion that comes up frequently is one that, up until recently, has been hard to respond to.  We get asked if we can actually get back in the shop and film repairs taking place, show how things are done, let the consumer appreciate the complexity, skill and parts that go into various services and repairs.  You can imagine the challenges:

  • Choice: Shops choose to perform various services in different ways: a 2 part fuel system cleaning vs. a 3 part; or various methods of performing a transmission service
    • You have good reasons for doing things the way you do and we don’t want the customer having any cause to question why you are doing it this way rather than that way
  • Time: We have 2 to 3 minutes to tell the story about, let’s say a brake job, and we really can’t show very much of an actual service or repair in the time we have
    • A companion suggestion we get is that we should take 10 to 20 minutes to give consumers a more detailed walk through a service, but study after study shows that in our short-attention-span culture people will stop watching long before the story has been told
  • Practicality: however long it takes for you to normally do a procedure – multiply that by 5 or 6 to get how long it would take to film it; retakes, lighting , camera angles.  And, there are some things you just can’t get to for a good shot.

Virtual Reality
What I’m really saying is that the realities of a thorough demonstration get in the way.  But by moving into virtual reality, we can meet the objectives both powerfully and practically.

We’re now creating segments using 3D modeling and animation.  We create a very realistic model of a system, such as brakes, right down to the nuts, bolts, springs, hoses and major parts.  We are able to take the model apart, show typical problems, illustrate service points, make repairs and demonstrate the benefits of taking care of the work.  This gives a vibrant visual of the actual parts and processes – in some aspects more completely than could be done in a live demonstration – in a way that imparts the skill required to diagnose and service a vehicle and a very good understanding of the importance of following a service or repair recommendation.

When we’re done, we’ll have modeled a complete vehicle with the ability to illustrate virtually any automotive service/repair topic, drilling down on the details in a way that will motivate consumers to take better care of their vehicles.

Look for these new 3D animations now in the AutoNetTV Lobby TV Program, Digital Menu Board, Web Tools, and other products coming out later this year.

Below is a sample animation.  Let us know what you think.

Lance Boldt is Vice President and Co-Founder of AutoNetTV.  AutoNetTV’s digital signage products deliver entertaining and educational TV programming to the lobbies of automotive service and repair businesses as well as digital menu boards and automotive website video content.

Disc Brake 3D Animation from Lance Boldt on Vimeo.

2 Responses to “Virtual Reality in the Auto Shop”

    • AutoNetTV

      Hal, we have two waiting room solutions: A Digital Menu Board and Digital Lobby TV – both give you access to a huge library of video and animation segments

      Reply

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