AR to Increase Efficiency in Logistics Planning at Audi
Audi relies on augmented reality to plan complex logistics processes: Virtual presentation of three dimensional holograms that are shown in their actual environment helps planners to better evaluate the future situation. Because of this, prototypes of containers or equipment, etc., which are elaborate to produce, are no longer necessary. Audi uses the new generation of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 device for this. The LayAR system supports Audi logistics planners when setting up new logistics structures in an existing production hall. The software makes use of existing CAD data for various objects, such as shelves, containers, and parts. LayAR visualizes this digital twin as a three‑dimensional hologram in the AR device and projects it in life size in the actual environment.
The same images are shown on multiple AR devices at the same time through synchronization. If a user reaches for an object, they can move it, turn it, or replace it with simple movements of their hands. All involved can see changes in real time. The shared image simplifies discussion and thus facilitates working together – even beyond the boundaries of sites and national borders. In the future, specialists from other plants or who are working from home can be included in decision‑making by web conferences.
A Supply Chain Planning project team tested the new software together with development partner Viscopic for a number of months. It is being used during planning workshops in the production hall, during presentations, and in layout discussions in the office. LayAR makes it possible for planners to virtually miniaturize the entire setup of the hall to the point where it can be projected onto a desk. A virtual tool facilitates precise measurement of distances and areas directly in the holographic image. All changes and results, for example from a workshop, can then be transferred into the CAD data in as little as a couple of seconds. This means that all participating employees can immediately continue to work using the new planning status.
The premium carmaker is also using mixed reality in other areas: Audi Product Communications has already been using “virtual exhibits” for several years to visualize technical processes and complex technologies for journalists. The holographic animations are based on CAD design data and are presented in 3D using HoloLens data devices during press events. Second‑generation devices are being used in this case as well.