Toyota expands the use of AR technology within its design and production departments.
In business, a “kaizen” philosophy is the practice where all employees – from CEO to new employees – work together proactively for the continued improvement of how an organization is run from top to bottom in every function of the business.
This practice was started by the Japanese and adopted by businesses around the world, most notably it’s a huge part of the automotive giant, Toyota, in what the company refers to as the Toyota Way. So, it would make sense that Toyota would look at any process or technology to explore new ways to better themselves as a company.
Toyota plans on using Microsoft’s HoloLens and AR technology as part of their kaizen philosophy in hopes of giving themselves a boost in efficiency and assistance them overall in how they operate as a company.
Bringing in mixed reality into areas such as the production floor will have Toyota joining the ranks of other big-name automakers, such as Ford and Volvo, who are already using the HoloLens in their design and production departments.
When Kayano Koichi, Toyota’s project manager of 3D data utilization and the primary lead in AR/VR/MR endeavors, first discovered the HoloLens, he instantly saw the potential of how the device and AR would allow them to do things they had never done before.
For example, the task of inspecting the coating thickness on a car normally requires two employee meticulously cutting out small pieces of paper, and then placing them on specific points of the car for measurement. Its normally a long and tedious process that can on average can take the entire day to complete.
Using the Microsoft HoloLens, an employee could complete the same task on their own in just about two hours.
Another advantage Toyota sees with HoloLens and AR/VR/MR technology is the ability to make on-the-spot changes in areas such as 3D design without affecting operations. Instead, you simply make the changes in AR as you go, all while not disrupting your work or completely halting team momentum.
Talking with the Nikkei Asian Review, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, discussed Toyota’s commitment to using the HoloLens by stating how technology, “completely changes the pace and the speed with which you can go about doing something.”
Along with the HoloLens, Toyota is also testing Microsoft’s Dynamic 365 suite, which combines VR and AR tools Microsoft Layout and Microsoft’s Remote Assist. Layout allows you to use VR to design the layout of a site, and explore how large equipment might fit within the location, while Remote Assist will take your Layout design and allow you to view the digital image in a real-world location using AR.
These tools take Toyota’s own kaizen philosophy and turns it into an immersive technology-saturated action plan that creates a collaborative global environment. It’s a virtually seamless system across the board and truly embraces the companies agenda of exploring all options to conceive a dynamic engine for improvements.
For Nadella, technology is key for improving business, and his own philosophy doesn’t focus on just Toyota and Microsoft. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a bank. It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail, or in automotive. All of you are in the software business and in the digital business going forward.”
No matter what business you’re in, you most likely have your own kaizen philosophy for ensuring success, making improvements, and perhaps – like Toyota – you see the potential in how hardware like Microsoft’s HoloLens, or any other type of immersive technology, can help get you there.
Or maybe you just want to play RoboRaid.