remium car makers, Audi utilise Augmented Reality to arrange complex logistics processes by showcasing digital presentations in 3D holograms which are displayed in their actual environment, assisting the planners to effectively evaluate the process. Consequently, prototypes of machinery and equipment are no longer necessary, saving cost and helping the environment. 

To do this, Audi have utilised the latest generation of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 devices alongside the LayAR system (which stands for “layout” and “augmented reality”). The software uses existing CAD data for various objects while LayAR visualises a digital copy as a 3D hologram in the AR device, projecting it in life size in the actual environment to assist Audi logistics planners when outlining new structures. 

Board of Management member for Production and Logistics, Peter Kössler, stated: 

“We use digital technologies systematically in Audi Production where they provide us with true Vorsprung,” 

Audi Logistics Planning
Image Credit: Audi

Audi have made Augmented Reality devices a permanent part of the logistics planners’ toolbox, making their work both more efficient and effective, as well as recognising problems at an early stage and developing a fast correct solution. To demonstrate, experts in the Ingolstadt body shop are currently planning machine technology for using an innovative driverless transport system, long before the first automated guided vehicles will be delivered. LayAR will soon also be used for setting up the production of electric vehicles in the main plant.

Project Manager, Tobias Brigl commented:

“In order to visualize structures and relative sizes up to now, we have been using in‑house prototypes of containers, shelves, and lines elaborately affixed to the floor,” 

Brigl continued: 

“This calls for a great deal of imagination. Augmented reality is an ideal tool to close the gap between the real and the virtual worlds.”

Audi AR Logistics
Image Credit: Audi

The same images can be displayed on multiple Augmented Reality devices simultaneously through synchronisation. Users are able to reach for objects and move, turn or replace it through simple hand movements. All those working on the project are able to see updates in real time, promoting simplified discussions and facilitating team work, even beyond the boundaries of sites and even national borders. In the future, planners from other sites or those working from home can be part of the decision making process via web conferences. 

The new software was tested by a Supply Chain Planning project team, together with the development partner Viscopic over a number of months. With the software being used during planning workshops in the production hall, during presentations, and in layout discussions in the office. With the LayAR technology, planners are able to virtually miniaturise the entire layout of a production hall and place it on a desk. A virtual tool facilitates precise measurement of distances and areas directly in the holographic image. All changes and results are stored on the CAD data in as little as a couple of seconds, allowing planners to immediately continue to work using the new planning status.

Audi have utilised immersive technologies in other areas of their work, for example, Audi Product Communications have been using “virtual exhibits” for several years to visualise technical processes and complex technologies for journalists. 

Dec 2, 2020
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