Ford Motor Company & Bosch have recently announced their partnership where they will pool their resources together to develop a virtual reality training program for the Mustang Mach-E. This program will enable technicians to service and maintain the electric vehicle without needing access to the actual vehicle. Technicians will learn necessary skills like how to perform diagnostics and services related to the high voltage system of the Mach-E. The virtual reality system will act like an ongoing training tool that will provide opportunities for picking up certain skills in the future.
Director of Operations at Bosch, Geoff Mee, stated in the company’s press release that the virtual reality training solution has been designed to improve efficiency. He further stated that by improving the diagnostics process, technicians can perform maintenance along with other tasks easier & faster. Ford is the first car manufacturing company to adopt Bosch’s program that they started developing in 2019 already. Both companies make use of Facebook’s Oculus Quest headset along with other companies like DHL, Johnson & Johnson, and Farmers Insurance. The Headset provides training in low resource areas, safety training in risky fields, and collaborative work across the distance.
Director of Ford service engineering operations, Dave Johnson, described the process by staying that technicians are immersed in a simulated world so that they do not have to rely on the actual Mustang Mach-E to be present in real-life. This way they can learn about the components and understand its inner-workings. They are then competent enough to service the cars physically when the time arises. There is very limited space for mistakes to be made. Customers are happy with their vehicles being returned to them, the production line moves quicker, and maintenance is not the drawn-out process it is known to be.
At the moment the bulk of the use of virtual reality technology is related to tasks such as battery pack removal, installation, service, and maintenance. Bosch is already developing extensions that can be used in the future. This will allow technicians to enter vehicles, interact with modules naturally, and determine issues that need repair. As virtual reality technology is increasing, as it is growing every day, there will be more and more uses that will enable technicians to be more efficient.
It sounds very modern. Almost like something from the far future but that is exactly the point. Ford aims at re-branding virtual training as a high-tech role to attract a new kind of hire. It complements the image that Ford wants to create: one that fits in with the future and one that keeps up with the times. In addition to preparing its technicians for the new vehicle, Ford also stated that it now has more than 2,100 EV certified dealers nationwide, making it one of the biggest EV dealers in the country. The Mach-E can be reserved online on the website now and the first shipments will take place in 2020.