Meet Ortho: A Voice Assistant for Automotive Technicians

Jan. 24, 2023

Tire dealers and automotive service shops now have access to Ortho, a voice assistant designed to help automotive technicians find precise and quick answers to questions they encounter while working on a vehicle.

Rain Technology Inc. unveiled the Ortho assistant at the 2022 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), and is now expanding its reach to include tire dealers, service franchises and quick lube shops.

The company says the technology was built over a two-year development process alongside shop owners and technicians. Technicians who have used Ortho estimate the tool has saved them two hours of time a week while performing a range of repair and maintenance procedures.

Powered by Motor's database of original equipment manufacturers data and housed in a rugged tablet, Ortho gives technicians answers to questions in less than five seconds. Technicians begin a question by saying, "Hey Ortho," and the tool provides instant look-up assistance to hundreds of specs, such as torques and measurements, fluid types and amounts, diagrams, service interval information and technical service bulletins.

Technicians can use Ortho from their bay, which the company says gives them faster access to the information they need.

Answers are displayed on the screen, and also read aloud using a text-to-speech function. Its internal intelligence will prompt users to ask specific questions. The company says if a user asks for a brake pad discard thickness, Ortho will confirm whether the technician is wanting front or rear brake information.

Service advisors can also use Ortho to access OEM service interval information and recommend relevant services to consumers.

“We built Ortho with a laser focus on saving meaningful time at a wide range of service centers, tapping into voice technology’s inherent advantages - speed of input, hands-free use, and a distraction-free interface,” says Nithya Thadani, CEO of Rain Technology. “With an aging fleet of vehicles on the road and an enduring technician shortage across all segments of the aftermarket, auto repair pros are some of the most in-demand professionals in any industry - they deserve well-designed, tech-forward solutions to maximize their productivity on the job.”

Kim Conti, vice president of product, says, “We designed Ortho to keep technicians in flow, limit task-switching that can result in lost productivity, and present only the information requested to minimize distraction. With the high turnover of vehicles coming through quick service centers on any given day, this flow and efficiency is all the more important."

Tom Ham, owner of AutoCentric Repair in Grand Rapids, Mich., has tested the technology.

“As soon as we started using Ortho in our shop, the benefits were clear - for my techs and the overall output of the shop. Keeping technicians happy often requires trying out the latest, greatest technologies — but they have to be fast, easy to use and work reliably to stick around, and that’s exactly what Ortho has done.”