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Audi to use robots to cure whatever ails their vehicles

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The future is here and now as Audi just recently announced its latest and greatest service technology, the Audi Robotic Telepresence or ART. The fleet of bots are being created to help service techs in troubleshooting and repairing the luxury German vehicles with greater precision and speed according to the automaker.

A New Hampshire-based robotics company, Vgo, developed the ART units. The automaker’s R2-D2 fleet is pretty much up and running experimentally. Currently there are about 18 of these droids already in place at Audi dealerships across the country. Reportedly, Audi has confirmed there is a plan in place to position at least 100 more ART systems at various locations.

Now, don't expect the robot to resemble a human, as in the famed sci-fi film, “The Terminator,” nor will it be tinkering on your pricey ride, solo, without the assistance of a human bonafide mechanic. Instead, the robot is a white stand-alone contraption with wheels and is comprised of a borescope (an optical device consisting of a rigid or flexible tube with an eyepiece on one end, an objective lens), handheld camera, speakers and a microphone. The remote controlled system displays the operator’s face on its screen and moves around the dealership area. ART allows Audi service technicians to interact and speak with their counterpart techs at a dealership, even if they are in different locales.

What is so cool about the ART system is that the operator can utilize the camera to get into engine areas that would be difficult or inaccessible to reach otherwise. The service techs at the dealerships must have a Wi-Fi connection in order to access ART using a computer or tablet.

According to Brian Stockton, general manager of technical support for Audi of America, “ART was designed with both Audi technicians and consumers in mind. The device will give local service technicians valuable one-on-one interaction with their counterparts at Audi of America, 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,” he commented via a press release.

Meanwhile, if you’re curious as to where the robots are currently located, here is the list:

- Audi Minneapolis – MN
- Audi Nashua – NH
- Audi North Houston – TX
- Audi North Scottsdale – AZ
- Audi Pembroke Pines – FL
- Audi Rochester Hills – MI
- Audi Tysons Corner – VA
- Barrier Audi – WA
- Beechmont Audi – OH
- Danbury Audi – CT
- New Country Audi – CT
- Paul Miller Audi – NJ
- Prestige Audi – CO
- Rusnak Audi – CA
- Santa Monica Audi – CA
- Stevens Creek Audi – CA
- The Audi Exchange – IL
- The Collection Audi – FL

Check out ART in action on the video.

--Car Chick®


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