Automotive

BMW techs using Google Glass in pre-series vehicle tests

BMW techs using Google Glass i...
Google Glass is being used in a pilot program to evaluate pre-series vehicles
Google Glass is being used in a pilot program to evaluate pre-series vehicles
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Google Glass allows BMW to record video of each QA test
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Google Glass allows BMW to record video of each QA test
Google Glass allows BMW to provide less subjective communication during pre-series testing
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Google Glass allows BMW to provide less subjective communication during pre-series testing
Google Glass is being used as part of BMW's 4.0 campaign
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Google Glass is being used as part of BMW's 4.0 campaign
Google Glass lets BMW communicate between quality testers and design engineers
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Google Glass lets BMW communicate between quality testers and design engineers
Google Glass is being used in a pilot program to evaluate pre-series vehicles
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Google Glass is being used in a pilot program to evaluate pre-series vehicles
Google Glass allows testers to sign off on tests using voice commands
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Google Glass allows testers to sign off on tests using voice commands
Google Glass allows for hand-free inspections with recorded video
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Google Glass allows for hand-free inspections with recorded video
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Google Glass has had some bad press of late, with users called some very unkind names and some industry analysts calling it this decade's Segway, but BMW has some love for the wearable head-mounted display. At its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, BMW is running a pilot program to see how Google Glass can improve the quality control of its pre-series vehicles as they make the transition from prototype to full production.

Pre-series cars are a vital link in modern car manufacturing. Cars that begin life as eye-catching concepts and then go on to become working prototypes still have a major hurdle before they're ready to be sold to the public. That's where pre-series cars come in. These are essentially production prototypes that are put together in a production-like setting to see if the design is capable of being reliably and economically mass produced instead of handmade in a machine shop.

It's a vital step because building the pre-series cars can uncover all manner of flaws that wouldn't have been apparent until the car went into production. The problem is, evaluating the pre-series cars requires a lot of communication between the quality testers and the design engineers to determine how the cars are deviating from plan. This is especially tricky because the problems are often vague and difficult to explain. As a result, BMW says written reports and photographs are less than adequate in roughly one out of four cases.

Google Glass allows for hand-free inspections with recorded video
Google Glass allows for hand-free inspections with recorded video

What BMW hopes is that by using a wearable technology like Google Glass, it will be possible to show rather than tell what is wrong. The idea is that the device will use a background video mode to record video feeds in two-minute segments, which can be permanently stored at the press of a button for later reference and discussion between the quality testers and design engineers instead of relying on handwritten notes or similar methods. In addition, the technology allows testers to remain with the vehicle and to sign off on a test using voice control.

The pilot program is part of BMW's 4.0 campaign to introduce new technologies to support planning and production. The company says that so far the trial, which can involve between 10 and 25 individual tests for each car depending on its equipment package, have proven so promising that it is considering using the system in the final assembly of series vehicles.

Source: BMW

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4 comments
fenshwey
I had a BMW 5 series. It had a problem with the engine where it would rev strangely.
I brought it to BMW and they hooked it up to a computer, computer couldn't find a problem but they admitted there was one with the engine. The fix, a new engine. I took it for second opinions at other BMW places, same story.
I sold the car at heavy discount.
It later transpired that BMW had used the wrong type of oil during a service and that is what was causing the problem. Because they have no mechanics and rely on computers and technicians they were unable to find such a simple problem.
Give me a human with 20 years experience for 5 mins instead of a readout from a computer to a technician that has to follow a manual. Them relying on more technology to supplement their humans knowledge does not fill me with confidence. Although I assume it will help with "most" problems.
Milton
@ fenshwey:
If a robot performed your oil-change you wouldn't have ever experienced those issues.
:-)
Don Duncan
fenshwey:
If you took it to a dealership and escaped without paying a bunch to correct their mistake, you got lucky. Or, paid and still had the problem. All the dealerships I have gone to for 45 years have screwed me. I have only gotten good service at independent garages. Two new cars, a '67 Fiat and a '84 Prelude were lemons which the dealerships could not fix, even denied the problems existed or claimed to have fixed them.
Dealerships have a monopoly in many states, i.e., a license to steal.
Arthur W. Arre
The BMW plant is actually in the city limits of Greer SC in order to enjoy the lower city water and utility rates. Anyone who hasn't heard of /can't Google Greer SC can't find Spartanburg SC either.