Microvision introduces a wireless, wearable computer for automotive service techs

Jan. 31, 2004

Microvision Inc. has launched a new automotive service system designed to increase productivity in service bays up to to 40%.

The Nomad Expert Technician System, the first wireless wearable computer with a head-worn, head-up display, allows automotive service technicians to superimpose text and diagrams from electronic service manuals directly over their workspace, according to the company.

The Nomad head-worn display module weighs 4.5 ounces. It delivers high contrast, high-resolution transparent images that can be overlaid on the user's vision.

A fully integrated wireless Windows CE.Net "thin client" computer is included with the system. The computer can be "easily connected to an existing computer terminal or remote server to access automakers' web-based service content via the included Internet Explorer browser," says the company.

The user controls input and navigation through a handy touch pad and keypad on the belt-mounted Nomad Control Module.

"We've received an enthusiastic response from every segment of the automotive repair market during the last few months of pilot trials, from car and truck manufacturers to new car dealerships, and from aftermarket digital content providers to large independent service and parts chains," says Tom Sanko, vice president of marketing for Microvision.

"They become believers in the benefits of the Nomad System after seeing how easily technicians and other front-line workers adapt to a new way of working that improves quality and productivity."

Based on testimonials provided by Microvision, automotive service diagnostics may be ready to take a giant leap forward.

* Larry Mallory, general manager, Honda of Kirkland, Kirkland, Wash., and chairman of the Honda Dealer Council's e-Business Committee: "The Nomad product will help us to have more accurate, more timely repairs and services for vehicles. Our customers want perfect Hondas, we want to give them perfect Hondas and American Honda Motor Company wants that too... it's a win, win, win product."

* Chud Wendle, president, Wendle Motors Inc., a Ford dealer in Spokane, Wash.: "The Nomad Expert Technician System gives us a competitive advantage by providing quality repairs, quickly. The customer, dealer and manufacturer all win by getting it right the first time."

* John Wiegand, senior vice president of Operational Programs, Precision Tune Auto Care Inc. in Leesburg, Va.: "Nomad gives us the opportunity to be more productive and efficient with the diagnosis and repair services we offer. The Nomad System allows us to instantly access the needed repair data to promptly handle our customers concerns."

* Ray Mesa, Master Service Technician, Roger Beasley Lincoln-Mercury, Victoria, Texas: "I've been a service technician for 19 years, and this is the most significant change that I have seen in that 19 years. Nomad is going to revolutionize the industry.

"Words can't describe how neat it is and how much time it can save you, because the more complex these cars get, the more information you need. Instead of having information just in the manuals, on a computer or a laptop, it's right there at your fingertips... right there in front of you... information all the time."

Attendees of the National Automobile Dealers Association Conference and Exposition, held recently in Las Vegas, were treated to a sneak peek of the device. It will be available by the end of March, backed by a national advertising campaign.

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for the complete Nomad Expert Technician System is $3,995. For more details, check out www.microvision.com/sneakpreview.