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Virtual reality is used to train techs to service GDI engines

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Virtual reality is used to train techs to service GDI engines

Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) technology is not new, but technicians are beginning to see more of it as car manufacturers add more GDI-equipped vehicles to their product lines. Robert Bosch LLC says in 2015 37% of new vehicles will feature GDI technology. By 2020, 49% of all new vehicles will have GDI engines. Bosch projects it will have 56% OE market share in GDI technology in 2017.

GDI engines, which burn fuel more efficiently and produce more power than conventional port fuel injection systems, require new repair processes and maintenance programs. Bosch has created a virtual reality training workshop to help shops service vehicles equipped with GDI engines.

“A low percentage of the market is gasoline direct injection. We know it’s going to a high percentage,” says Rob Darrow, manager of strategic projects for Bosch. “That doesn’t change how the diagnostic tools will work, but it is something we’re trying to make people aware of because it does change the repair process and maintenance program.”

For example, carbon buildup on the intake valves is causing driveability concerns, according to Mark DeKoster, a certified Bosch trainer. “The manufacturers are dealing with that. In the meantime, we’ve got an awful lot of vehicles out there that are going to have that problem. It’s going to require a maintenance schedule on the part of the consumer, and that’s something we try to get across to the technician as well.”

Bosch is presenting the nuances of GDI service to technicians through the Bosch Xperience Mobile Tour. Two trucks are visiting approximately 40 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. from June through October 2015.

The training is geared to technicians, who are immersed in vehicle repair scenarios when they put on virtual reality goggles. The technician is in a virtual shop, where a virtual car comes into a virtual service bay with a customer complaint associated with it. Using the goggles, technicians examine different components of the engine and diagnose the problem.

“Right now the percentage of cars that are GDI is pretty slim, but it’s getting bigger and bigger,” says DeKoster. “What we are promoting on this tour is the diagnostic technique that technicians should follow, which is to use the fuel trims in different operating conditions to get a sense of what is going on inside the engine.”

The future of training

The virtual reality shop helps engage technicians, according to Darrow. “Training has been pretty much the same forever. What is the future of training and how do you get tools to engage people and talk to them? That is what we’re attempting to accomplish here.”

This is the second year for the Bosch Xperience Mobile Tour. In 2014, the training was a passive virtual reality experience. Engine components were presented and explained to technicians who “traveled” through a 3-D model of a GDI engine. Bosch added the interactive component for 2015.

In this year’s training, technicians are awarded points based on time and following proper procedure. Competing against each other, they step through the entire repair process, identifying faults, selecting replacement parts and completing the repair.

The approximately two-hour long training experience is designed to be competitive, entertaining and educational. In addition, Bosch is offering full-day clinics that focus on GDI, start-stop technology, diesel systems and braking.

The Bosch Xperience is a two-fold initiative, according to Darrow. “One is to show what we can do in training. The other is to get technicians familiar with Bosch and to prefer Bosch by name when they buy their parts.”

The company is taking the training to shops, tech schools and other venues. Darrow says Bosch provides on-demand training wherever there is a need, a concept he calls “training in a suitcase.”

There is no charge to host the Bosch Xperience. For more information or to schedule a tour stop, contact Darrow by email at or visit

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