Commercial aircraft interior and services provider, Jamco America, has co-developed an augmented reality (AR) training tool designed to enable more efficient maintenance services for customers. AR is the process of superimposing a three-dimensional computer-generated image onto a user’s view of the real world, which provides a composite view that can guide a user through key maintenance tasks. This technology can be displayed through a variety of hardware, from handheld tablets to headsets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.
Jamco America’s product range includes commercial aircraft seating, namely the Journey forward-facing business-class seat launched in 2015 and the Venture reverse-herringbone business-class seat, launched in 2019. Current maintenance training for these and other Jamco products relies on video tutorials, face-to-face demonstrations, and written training guides with supporting component maintenance manuals. Although the company has found such training tools to be effective, its team believes that AR technology will help them develop more efficient maintenance services.
The work began in 2018, when Jamco America established a partnership with Object Theory, an early pioneer in mixed reality, located in Portland, Oregon. The aim was to create a more seamless and repeatable product maintenance training service for customers.
Jamco America’s vision is to help maximise the operational efficiency of its airline customers. The company is implementing Object Theory’s AR software via HoloLens headsets, enabling trainee mechanics to work on its seats from anywhere – hands-free, in real time, and with no need to refer to a separate manual. The system audibly communicates step-by-step instructions to the user as computer-generated images that create a guiding overlay on the product being examined. The system also gives the user complete control over the pace of their work by selecting when they are ready to proceed to the next step. Users can also easily access relevant documents such as the component maintenance manual within the AR device.
This combination of visual guidance and textual information is designed to provide a field ready, time efficient, and comprehensive maintenance tool to help airline crews identify and solve any problems with a seat as they arise during service. The AR systems can also be used to help Jamco America’s product support representatives communicate in real time with mechanics in the field via remote assist. In those cases, both individuals will be able to see the same product and work together – through AR – to resolve any customer concerns.