AR to create market value of $5.5B for car industry in 2022

Many players in the automotive industry are strengthening their activities in augmented reality (AR), especially since AR has demonstrated benefits to the whole industry value chain, from design through production and sales.

Analyst firm ABI Research estimates global smart glasses shipments for automotive industry use will hit 1.7 million in 2022. The total automotive AR market is expected to grow at CAGR of 177% during the forecast period and reach $5.5 billion in 2022.

“AR benefits automotive manufacturers at many stages of a product cycle, including design, prototyping, manufacturing, and marketing,” said Marina Lu, senior analyst at ABI Research.

“In design, digital 3D visualization and analysis of body structure and components can save time and resources. Collaboration is streamlined and improved, evaluating the same content in real time, which ultimately speeds up decision-making,” Lu said.

“AR technology supplements traditional tools, such as clay modeling, with virtual components on top of an existing physical object, to show design variants or to support design reviews, again shortening cycles and saving on design and prototyping costs,” she added.

High-end, head-worn AR/MR devices are on a path to being applied for more complicated use cases in the automotive industry.

Auto manufacturer Ford has outfitted some of its designers with Microsoft HoloLens and plans to expand AR use globally. Volkswagen has been testing and piloting AR use cases for some time and has utilized the technology to complete the design iterations faster.

AR has also begun to transform the marketing and sales for the automotive industry. Customers can interact with the customized digital vehicles in high detail before making a purchase decision.

Using Apple’s ARKit, Audi has released an AR app which enables users to place photorealistic 3D models of Audi vehicles on a surface wherever you are located and resize it as you find fit. Hyundai, Jeep, and Volvo have also begun to leverage AR for virtual test drives and digital showroom experiences, saving time, real estate, and cost.

“While it is still early for automotive AR use, the applications at play have already shown proven ROI,” added Eric Abbruzzese, principal analyst at ABI Research.

“ROI is always the first question to answer for any new technology, and this is especially true for AR. Collaboration, step by step instruction, remote expertise, 3D spatial visualization, and more have all been tried across industries, with positive and predictable results.

“The importance of design and prototyping combined with the slim margins of the automotive industry make it a prime candidate for wide AR adoption. From 3D visualization with designers to enhancing employee efficiency and safety on the plant floor to enticing buyers with digital experiences, the symbiotic relationship between augmented reality and the end-to-end automotive market is strong, and will continue to strengthen and grow.”

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