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Augmented Reality in Heavy Machinery
Mark Parker

How Augmented Reality Can Improve Complex Technical Inspections

There’s a really interesting debate going on at the moment about the effect of smart technology on semi-skilled, and skilled work roles. Despite the doom and gloom forecast by some, there are a number of examples of emerging technology that will change how we work, and change it for the better. One example of this is the intersection of Augmented Reality, IoT, and Wearables – three tech spaces that are rapidly moving from concept and hype to real opportunity. Google sort of introduced us to this with Google Glasses, a product that probably set back the space for 3-4 years. The opportunity now though is very real through platforms such as DAQRI Smart Glasses and Skylight from Upskill. I’m excited about these developments because of the potential to improve how we use information and complete complex technical tasks. One application for example is how various regulatory bodies conduct roadside heavy vehicle inspections – heavy vehicles (single and multi-trailer combinations) carries a very significant amount of freight in Australia and the regulations and risks are quite high. Where these platforms can help is by integrating existing data sources such as registration, vehicle type, and even past or existing defect notices into the field of vision of the inspector. Rather than asking or needing to search via another device the inspector can have multiple data sources available and influencing how they approach the inspection. Heavy vehicles are also becoming more complex – so again, the user has the opportunity to quickly contextualise what needs to be inspected or even apply an Augmented Reality tag to a worn but compliant part so that future inspections can zero in quickly on key areas requiring attention. It will be interesting to see this type of technology taken up and used in this region to advance work practices that are still very manual. This article was first posted on LinkedIn on 25 March 2017.