Inspect AR: Vehicle Inspection and Remote Assistance at the Swiss Army

February 2nd, 2023

Reto Grob

Bärtiger Soldat mit RealWear-Headset auf dem Kopf greift mit dem linken Arm in den Motorraum eines Fahrzeugs, um eine Wartung vorzunehmen

The Swiss Army uses Inspect AR for repairs and fleet services – with success.

Lieutenant Colonel Dominik Winter, responsible for the Swiss Army’s Strategic Initiative “Innovation”, is continuously investigating how to make the tasks of the troops and operations easier. “We want to introduce ideas worth testing – those with added value for the troops – within a few months. Our users tell us whether to pursue the idea or discard it. We start small and with industry standards. What proves successful, we implement more broadly.”

At the Army Logistics Center in Hinwil and at the Swiss Army’s Mountain Infantry Battalion 48, troop mechanics and workshop personnel successfully tested the Inspect AR platform. With digital vehicle checks and repairs guided by specialists, they are increasing work efficiency.

Instructions via App: Maintenance and Servicing in the Military

In the event of defense, every minute counts. In peacetime, the army must therefore practice and prepare for real emergency scenarios. Maintaining equipment and machinery is essential to keep them operational when needed.

However, not all troop mechanics are familiar with every vehicle, and the Swiss Army has long intervals between annual refresher courses.

Inspect AR helps inspection personnel quickly find their way around any vehicle. The mobile app uses augmented reality navigation to guide personnel directly to the next inspection point on the vehicle. This way, even when checking a vehicle for the first time, soldiers can find every component during their inspection. A target-performance comparison on the smartphone ensures that the inspection is carried out correctly.

Troop technician Patrik Wolf graduated from recruit school in 2017 when the current Duro did not yet exist. “This digital guidance helps me enormously. Pictures show me the right places on the vehicle. I can photograph and upload defects. This allows me to work efficiently and independently, and also assume responsibility.”

Maintenance personnel install the app directly on their smartphones, which increases efficiency. “Because the app runs on my own phone, I’m familiar with its operation. This helps me to perform the task more diligently, which increases safety,” explains soldier Luca Straub.

Another efficiency gain: Inspect AR also runs on a headset such as RealWear. The great benefit: Soldiers have their hands free to perform repairs with step-by-step instructions or blueprints in their field of vision.

Remote Assistance for Quick Vehicle Repairs

The Swiss Army also uses the RealWear headset with Inspect AR for remote support. Instead of following typical repair procedures and shutting down a vehicle to be serviced until it can be inspected on site by experts, maintenance personnel can use remote assistance to solve many problems independently on site.

For example, vehicle technicians with expert knowledge of the vehicle in question connect themselves digitally and see exactly what the personnel on site see through a camera attached to their glasses. Via the integrated microphone, they give instructions for the repair and directly assess the implementation.

The person on the right in the foreground is wearing a RealWear headset with the camera turned on, looking at the table in front of her with a laptop showing the camera image of the remote assistance function of the Inspect AR app.
Using a smartphone, tablet, or RealWear headset, experts can provide on-site remote support. | Image: Swiss Army, Augment IT

Troop technician Marco Storchenegger has been able to quickly solve problems on vehicles via 1:1 team contact with guidance from experts. “This supports me both in the troop workshop and in the field. After all, the experts from the Army Logistics Center are not on site within a few minutes – but they are now digitally.”

Inspect AR in the Swiss Army: These are the Benefits

  • Expert knowledge for everyone: Even after longer duty breaks or with new vehicles, soldiers can carry out inspections and maintenance with precision.
  • Independent training: The digital inspections can be repeated at any time without additional instructors.
  • Complete traceability: The integrated automatic real-time documentation increases and ensures inspection quality.
  • Real-time expert support in the workshop & in the field: Experts connect digitally and guide repairs on site.

Faster Operational Readiness with Inspect AR

Whether for exercises, domestic protection missions (such as national summits) or defense operations, the Swiss Armed Forces use efficient digital inspection technology to ensure the operational readiness of vehicles. Troop personnel can also quickly incorporate new vehicles into their maintenance routines: They create inspection points for the Inspect AR app within minutes.

For more information on Inspect AR, visit our website. Follow us for updates on LinkedIn and please don’t hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation consultation.

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