Audi uses robots in dealerships

Audi uses robots in dealerships

Jun 24, 2014

Audi uses robots in dealerships

You may have gathered we're not sold on the idea of robots. We've all seen the films - in the end, great fields of Homo sapiens skulls will be crushed beneath metallic feet as T-101s battle with the remnants of humanity. Mark our words, artificial intelligence is guaranteed to be a bad thing.

However, car makers seem intent on pushing forward with our demise, as evinced by ASIMO, Honda's tiny humanoid that is surely harbouring thoughts of subjugating all of mankind in the not too distant future. Now Audi wants in on the act - launching a communications robot into its US dealer network that allows technicians who are miles away to 'inspect and stand next to the car' as if they were there in person. Although it could also be described as an inhumane avatar that's bound to turn on its masters one day.

This abomination unto mankind (sorry, perhaps our fear of technology has gone too far now) is called the Audi Robotic Telepresence, or ART. It is said to provide a one-on-one virtual link that connects dealers across the vast expanse of the United States with expert Audi Technical Assistance consultants at Audi of America (AoA), headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

ART is essentially a remote-controlled robot that displays the AoA operator's face on a screen and also permits them to 'move' around the vehicle to inspect any issues that might be arising from servicing and repairs. ART is also fitted with a borescope and handheld camera, allowing the AoA technician to inspect engine components and other, difficult-to-reach parts of the vehicle, even though they are thousands of miles away. It all works via Wi-Fi, naturally.

"ART was designed with both Audi technicians and consumers in mind," said Brian Stockton, general manager for Technical Support, AoA. "The device will give local service technicians valuable one-on-one interaction with their counterparts at AoA, which will not only benefit the speed and depth of service at the dealer level, but create an improved ownership experience for the customer in general."

ART is being tested via a pilot programme in 18 US Audi dealers right now and if it's a success, it will be rolled out to 100 in total. And then it will come to Europe. And the rest of the world. And one day, when ART becomes self-aware and malevolent, those of us who remain will be desperately trying to find a way to bring down this Godforsaken network of evil Audi robots...

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