Augmented Reality (AR) is an innovation-driven set of human-machine interaction technologies that overlays virtual components in a real-world environment with many potential applications within various fields ranging from entertainment to aerospace and surgery. Here we will discuss AR potential in telematics, fleet management, and related applications.

What is AR

Augmented reality actually overlays digital information and content onto the physical world. AR software and hardware would largely rely on the working environment as well as on the characteristics of targeted objects. The figure below represents the possible general routine of an AR system with typical input and output hardware, following [R. Oliveira et al, 2014]


The calibration is a crucial step, with entailed scene acquisition aimed at getting input data. Then, the natural characteristics of target objects as well as illumination conditions will help to form requirements on the type of further utilized hardware. IMU and magnetic or electromagnetic sensors are the complements of the precedent ones to provide measurements with improved accuracy. The reconstruction into a point cloud is an optional step that is mandatory if the use of depth data is chosen. For applications requiring stereo vision, a multi-camera approach could be employed.

The basic steps of the AR application are shown below, following [R. Oliveira et al, 2013]. A critical component of an AR system is the processing unit, that will on its turn depend on the requirements of the system, portability, processing time capacity, and remote access.

Tablets and smartphones sometimes may lack processing capacity and can’t always be the optimal solutions to work directly with large amounts of data. For more advanced tasks the local computer might be employed for data management.

AR applications and further development

AR-based solutions could potentially be very efficient in various telematics applications, from workflow steps quality monitoring to drivers distraction reductions and increased maintenance efficiency. There are indeed be more with time.

AR could be favorable technology, targeting further freight transportation optimization in fields like freight loading, international trade, completeness checks, and driver navigation. AR-enabled real-time information could be very useful for drivers to estimate real-time traffic while keeping focused on their job, which leads to less distraction and increased safety.

While AR certainly has enough potential to add a lot to telematics, as well as to other areas of everyday life, there are still a number of things that need to be developed, and taken into account. It is still fairly hard to imaging everyone wearing quite bulky equipment to address a few challenges, especially, if there are alternative solutions around. For instance, AR-assisted maintenance alerts could successfully be addressed by advanced telematics platform without any additional equipment – simply by using a very user-friendly and easy maintenance tool.

AR tools continuously spreading to a wide range of areas from computer games to surgery and aerospace engineering. A number of social and engineering challenges still needed to be overcome before we’ll see AR just everywhere around.

References

  • R. Oliveira et al, Augmented Reality and the Future of Maintenance, 2014.
  • A. Yeh Ching Lee, Augmented Reality – some emerging application areas, 2011.
  • R. Oliveira, An Augmented Reality Application to Support Maintenance – Is It Possible? , 2013.
  • G. Dini, M. Dalle Mura, Application of Augmented Reality Techniques in Through-life Engineering Services, 2015.
  • A. B. Craig, Understanding Augmented Reality, 2013.
  • B. Furht, Handbook of Augmented Reality, 2011.
  • DHL Trend Research, Augmented Reality in Logistics, 2014.
  • S. Maad, Augmented Reality, 2010.
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