Ford Techs Get Virtual Reality Training on Mustang Mach-E
Ford Mustang Mach-E (Image: Ford)
Ford service technicians are stepping into the future with a virtual reality learning tool that will enable them to become fully immersed with the all-new Mustang Mach-E and its components, without an actual vehicle having to be physically present.
Dealerships must be certified to work on EVs before they’ll be allowed to sell the all-electric crossover, which bows later this year.
The system, which was developed by Bosch, uses Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset.
Through the device, dealer technicians can quickly come up to speed on the new EV’s electrical architecture before they encounter it in the real world. This includes learning how to safely work on the crossover’s high-voltage battery and related components.
Bosch also is developing future extensions that will allow technicians to virtually enter the vehicle and experience component systems as if they were walking through rooms to learn about them. This will help improve diagnostic skills, according to the supplier.
Bosch tested the system with instructors, technicians and college students last year. Ford, which is the first carmaker to use the technology, says it may expand such training to other vehicles.
Future training also could include “gamification” techniques. Such programs would encourage and reward technicians to quickly troubleshoot and correctly diagnose problems in the fewest steps as possible.
In addition, Ford says the VR tools could help foster a high-tech image for the auto repair industry that attracts new workers to the profession.
The company also is experimenting with VR systems in the vehicle development process. Recent projects, which allow engineers in separate locations to remotely create and evaluate designs with each other, include collaborations with Microsoft and London-based Gravity Sketch.
Although the RAV4 has plenty of heritage in the small crossover segment, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher, so Toyota has made significant changes to the fourth-generation model.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
By James Gaffney, Product Engineer, Precision Grinding and Patrick D. Redington, Manager, Precision Grinding Business Unit, Norton Company (Worcester, MA)