MUNICH, Germany — For the last two years, Bosch has been closely cooperating with Reflekt GmbH in the development of Augmented Reality (AR) applications for production, service, training and marketing applications. Bosch now plans to extend this successful cooperation by taking a minority stake in the AR specialist. Contracts to that effect were signed Dec. 16, 2015.
Since its foundation in 2012, the Augmented Reality startup Reflekt has evolved into one of the most renowned companies in the area of industrial AR solutions. Its international team in Munich (Germany) consists of more than 25 employees. The transaction is subject to the approval of the cartel authorities.
Investing in an important future technology
“In the future, Augmented Reality applications will be used in many areas of our lives. In the industrial sector and the automotive aftermarket, AR applications will save time and reduce costs,” says Dr. Eng. Hans-Peter Meyen, member of the Divisional Board of the Bosch Automotive Aftermarket division. Reflekt CEO Wolfgang Stelzle adds: “We are convinced our long-term partnership with Bosch will be strengthened by this investment. The reputation and market position of Bosch will accelerate our international expansion and product development.”
Augmented Reality applications enhance the perception of reality by combining reality with augmented information. Once the user points his smart-phone or tablet camera onto a specific area, additional digital information such as explanations, 3D objects or videos are shown on the display of the device. In automotive workshops, for instance, Augmented Reality allows technicians to see components true to scale and in their correct location, even though they may not be visible on the product without disassembly. Work instructions, error codes and the required tools are displayed as well. “Together with Reflekt, we will continue to advance our worldwide position in this important pioneering field,” Meyen says.
Software platform for the industrial development of Augmented Reality
Having been involved in AR applications at an early stage, Bosch and the AR specialist Reflekt have evolved into worldwide leaders in the industrialization of Augmented Reality. Together, both companies developed the “Common Augmented Reality Platform (CAP)”; the world’s first software platform for the industrialization of AR. Using CAP, highly complex AR applications and their digital and visual contents can be integrated quickly and easily in technical documentation or diagnostic procedures. The platform enables integration into existing IT infrastructures. Also, it enables easy integration of data such as text information, circuit diagrams, videos and augmented 3D animations. CAP thus allows the industrialization of AR applications. In this way, Bosch and Reflekt have already developed a range of AR applications throughout the last two years. Combining the AR competence of Reflekt with Bosch expertise in the area of documentation and solutions development for service, production and training, a unique product has been created. This enables, for the first time, the wide-spread use of AR in industrial environments.
Besides applications for the automotive sector, Bosch also sees a variety of useful possibilities to apply Augmented Reality in other industrial sectors. As part of the total solution, Bosch offers licensing of the CAP system combined with consulting, engineering and complete authoring services.