Volkswagen shows off augmented reality iPad app for repair technicians

Wolkswagen Marta

Apple’s iPad has been used for a number of various augmented-reality applications which impose real-world information over live video feed. The car industry seems to be particularly keen on embracing the Apple tablet. Cody last month told you about eKurzinfo, an Audi app that uses an iOS device camera to help identify parts and features on your car.

Today, Volkswagen is highlighting a similar augmented-reality software, but aimed at repair technicians and car dealers. It’s called MARTA (Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance) and Volkswagen showed it off ahead of the InsideAR Conference, the world’s largest augmented reality conference slated to run October 11, 2013 in Munich, Germany…

Unlike eKurzinfo which has been designed to help with simple maintenance, Volkswagen’s app is aimed squarely at service technicians working on its XL1 concept car.

Developed in co-operation with Metaio GmbH, it shows real and virtual parts in three-dimensional relation to one another. It’s quite cool, have a look at a quick demo by Professor Dr. Werner Schreiber, Head of Volkswagen Group Research.

Here’s how MARTA works.

Each work task to be performed begins with what is known as an initialization  The vehicle’s silhouette is shown in the display of the mobile end device, and it shows the employee the orientation to be taken in relation to the vehicle.

If the silhouette and the camera image of the real vehicle agree, the initialization is finished successfully. Then the individual context-dependent work steps are shown on the tablet. This gives the employee a new system for identifying work items quicker and more accurately.

According to Volkswagen, Munich-based Metaio was also behind eKurzinfo for Volkswagen’s stablemate Audi. Again, that app is more of an end-user software for folks who like to tinker with their vehicle and perform simple maintenance like oil changes themselves.

Volkswagen recently partnered with Apple on the iBeetle, a 2014 vehicle (see below) that features a custom built-in iPhone docking station and a companion app that lets you sync your device with the in-car entertainment system for making phone calls, streaming music and more.


Apple already has always had a strong foothold in the car market through the iPod integration and has been working with the world’s top car makers on implementing native support for iOS device media playback features.

iOS 7 takes that experience to the next level with a brand new (and much-needed) feature dubbed iOS in the Car. Also called a “key focus” for the company and a “part of the ecosystem,” iOS in the Car lets you do much more with your iOS device, right on your car’s dashboard.

ios in car 2

Features include making phone calls, accessing Maps and Siri, controlling music and other media and even apps using the car’s built-in display. And not only are those features accessible by hooking up your device to the in-car dashboard via the standard USB interface, but over Wi-Fi and AirPlay as well.

According to Apple:

iOS in the Car seamlessly integrates your iOS device — and the iOS experience — with your in-dash system. If your vehicle is equipped with iOS in the Car, you can connect your iPhone 5 and interact with it using the car’s built-in display and controls or Siri Eyes Free.

Now you can easily and safely make phone calls, access your music, send and receive messages, get directions, and more. It’s all designed to let iPhone focus on what you need, so you can focus on the road.

The iPhone maker confirmed it will officially launch iOS in the Car in 2014 with several launch partners and we heard that the next point update (maybe iOS 7.1?) might contain built-in support for the feature.