Ford and Bosch to Train Technicians Using Virtual Reality
Virtual reality training at the workplace is picking up Steam.
A new Virtual Reality tool from Bosch and Ford will soon be used to train technicians in how to service and maintain the Mustang Mach-E all-electric car without having to access a physical model.
The tool will immerse technicians into a simulated and gamified world that will eliminate the need to rely on an actual Mustang Mach-E to learn about its components, including its new high-voltage system.
The new VR training tool will enable technicians to understand not just the components but also the steps that are needed to service all its high-voltage systems. It will enable technicians to confidently carry out diagnostics and maintenance on the vehicles.
How it Works
A technician wearing the Virtual Reality headset learns how they can carry out a diagnosis and other services associated with the vehicle’s high-voltage system. The tasks covered in the virtual reality training include the removal and installation of the main battery, service and maintenance of the battery pack.
Bosch is also building future extensions that will allow technicians to use Virtual Reality to enter and navigate a vehicle by using modules creating an immersive experience that feels like they are actually walking through rooms to learn more about the system. By navigating through the modules, the technicians will be able to identify the issue and repair the vehicle.
The Virtual Reality training solution contributes to greater efficiency. It also improves the diagnostic process and enables the technicians to perform maintenance and repairs much quicker and more easily.
The virtual reality system can also be deployed as an ongoing training tool that enables the technicians to master the niche skills contained in the Ford technical training program.
Virtual reality training can have a very positive impact on the automotive repair industry. By framing the profession as high-tech and forward-thinking industry where technicians can learn and grow in a high-tech environment, it can potentially attract new recruits who would otherwise shun the technician’s job.
Technicians who wish to use the Virtual Reality training platform can also tap into it from virtually anywhere.
Bosch built the proof of concept of the automotive service training in virtual reality last year. It then tested it in the market with technicians, instructors and college students. Ford Motor Co. became the first auto manufacturer to pilot the VR application.
Ford deployed it in its service technician powertrain repair course specifically for its all-electric Mustang Mach-E. The Mach E is the first electric SUV. The automaker could also expand the use of the technology into training for other vehicles in the future.
The Bosch VR training solution leverages the Oculus Quest headset. Currently, both Ford and Bosch are also collaborating with Oculus for Business in managing their fleet of Virtual Reality headsets that have so far been deployed in the Ford technician training program. The two are also using PIXO VR. Oculus’s VR content distribution platform allows for scaling and iterating of Virtual Training software and applications.