Like the automotive industry as a whole, commercial vehicles grow more complex and robust with each passing year. Alternative fuel and battery-powered trucks are on the rise, as are electronic controls, infotainment systems, and advanced instrumentation. For the most complex faults, support from the OEM’s technical support team can be required, driving up repair costs, increasing vehicle downtime, and jeopardizing on-time product deliveries.
Andrew Walker, National Technical and Warranty Manager at Renault Trucks, a top manufacturer of light and heavy goods vehicles and transport solutions, knows this well. In 2018, he and his department began looking for ways to streamline maintenance processes and maximize their customers’ commercial vehicle investment. With more than 70 service outlets across the UK and Ireland, it was a daunting task. They knew that some form of video-based remote assistance would be needed, but struggled to find one that met their criteria.
The team identified five requirements needed of a technology:
- Easy to use, deploy, and scale
- Hands-free but secure collaboration, with the ability to take control of the camera remotely
- Expand beyond live video, giving users the option to take pictures, make markups and annotations, and share documentation
- Because some of their service outlets and dealerships are in remote areas, the system must perform well in low bandwidth environments and by cell phone
- Recognizing that no rollout of new technology would succeed without buy-in from the end-user, it must be comfortable and safe to use in the shop
After significant discussion and digital tire kicking, Walker’s group found a solution that met all of these requirements and more. Using RealWear HMT-1 headsets together with Onsight remote expert software from Librestream, a leading provider of augmented worker enterprise solutions, Renault Trucks developed Optiview, a technology offering that allows its extensive network of dealers and service outlets to virtually connect with OEM support from anywhere in the world.
“Early in the pilot program, one of the technicians commented that it was a remarkable experience, the product was easy to use and gave them the support of the technical team right when they needed it to speed up diagnosis and repair on complex issues,” said Walker. “Quite simply, the solution ticked all of the boxes for us.”
That was in 2019. The Optiview system has since been deployed to 72 dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland, giving instant access to Renault Trucks’ fleet of 450 technical engineers. Users can also collaborate in real-time with other Optiview-equipped dealerships, cross-training and leveraging the others’ unique knowledge and experiences.
In one instance, a vehicle with a complex electrical fault was brought to a dealership in Scotland, 240 miles from the nearest Renault Trucks support specialist. The specialist monitored remotely while the onsite technician began troubleshooting steps, and quickly found a problem with the test equipment itself, which was causing incorrect readings. The issue was resolved within 30 minutes, and the vehicle went back on the road.
According to Walker, without Optiview, the problem could easily have cost three days of downtime. “We chose Librestream and RealWear because they’re leaders in remote expert software and wearables,” he said. “Doing so has provided us with very positive results, and given our service technicians the ability to more easily sort out complex issues. I think it won’t be long before we’ve rolled the solution out to other countries in Europe and beyond.”