XR technologies in the automotive industry: guidelines for their implementation

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2022
Författare
Celato, Alberto
Datei, Enea
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The ongoing electrification, shorter product life cycles and increasing demands for car customization have increased the complexity of manufacturing processes in the automotive industry. Therefore, car manufacturers are looking at the implementation of extended reality (XR) technologies to tackle the many challenges they are facing, as well as to improve the flexibility and adaptability of their operations, and thus also their profitability and efficiency. However, despite the rapid advancement of technological developments, a gap is identified in the number of academics addressing the implementation of XR technologies within manufacturing in the automotive industry. To address the identified gap, this research proposes a three-step process that relies on three sources of data, both theoretical and empirical: a systematic literature review, a set of interviews with XR experts and three case studies attended within Volvo Cars Corporation (VCC). The first step aims to analyse the state of the art of XR technologies within manufacturing in the automotive industry. The objective is to define the main technologies available (i.e. hardware and software), the fields of application where these technologies can be applied and their level of maturity. The second step analyses the benefits that XR technologies may bring to the different fields of application and the challenges that are preventing the advantages of XR to be fully exploited. Finally, based on the findings of the two previous steps, a set of guidelines for XR implementation is proposed, validating the suggested guidelines within VCC. The data collected and its analysis contribute to depicting the actual state of the art of XR technologies. In particular, on one hand, five different fields in which augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) can turn beneficial, according to their different level of maturity, are identified. On the other hand, five clusters of challenges (funding, integration, selection, skills and technology) are recognised as obstacles to the implementation of XR technologies. Based on these findings, the model developed proposes that automotive firms follow step-by-step a set of five guidelines considering three main perspectives: technology management, competencies, and organizational structure. Therefore, the main theoretical contribution of this research is to clarify the state of the art of XR technologies in the automotive industry. While at the same time, the proposed guidelines are intended to be a valuable starting point to support car manufacturers in implementing XR technologies within manufacturing
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XR, augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, Industry 4.0, automotive, manufacturing, case study, guidelines
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