Tesla is investigating the use of augmented reality (AR) to help factory workers assemble cars, according to a new patent filed by the company.
The patent is for an “augmented reality application for manufacturing“.
“A series of images of a physical environment are obtained,” the patent description explains. “At least a portion of an object detected in the series of obtained images is identified. A deviance from a reference property associated with the detected object is detected using the series of images. Information associated with the deviance is provided via an augmented reality device.”
Figures from IDC suggest that worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) will reach $53bn (£42bn) by 2022, with retail, discrete manufacturing, and the transportation industry among the top investors.
Augmented reality and mixed reality started gaining traction when the technology moved beyond just projecting 3D models in physical space, and instead showed how it can augment the real world with digital information, according to Microsoft Azure’s Diego Tamburini.
Such information can include operation, maintenance and quality control instructions, and real-time IoT data, as well as remote expert assistance.
As a result, the latest manufacturing applications of AR provide additional context around what the user is looking at – changing the face of manufacturing on the plant floor, in the field, and in design departments.
At Tesla, AR could be used in conjunction with smart glasses. The patent gives the example of marking joints and/or inspecting dimensional accuracy of joints, which involves overlaying paper or plastic moulds in order to mark the part. With an AR device, this would be done with a virtual overlay.
The use of computer vision and AR tools in the manufacturing process could significantly increase speed and efficiency, Tesla said.
In a survey for our Next-generation connectivity report, over three-quarters of respondents said they see particular opportunities to be gained from augmented, virtual and mixed reality. Find out more by downloading the report today!