Since implementing safety tests and simulations for over 90 years—and creating the modern seat belt in 1959—
Volvo Group has built a reputation of safety-focused innovation. This commitment to safety continues with
the introduction of electric product lines across Volvo Trucks, Renault Trucks, and Mack Trucks. The global
automotive manufacturer’s latest innovation is transforming the first responder experience during emergency
situations—and saving more lives in the process.
The Current Limitations of Roadside Emergency Response
With these electric product lines, Volvo Group identified an opportunity to address the current limitations of roadside emergency response. This vision has improved safety not just for drivers, but also for first responders and service technicians interacting with the electric trucks.
Consider that when first responders arrive on the scene, they often encounter hazards such as high-voltage lines and charged batteries. With lives on the line and little time to act, first responders must identify those hazards, disengage high-voltage areas, and disconnect the battery before cutting into the vehicle for quick entry.
To navigate less obvious dangers, responders have traditionally relied on printed 2D rescue cards. The limitations of these cards can introduce challenges that impede responders in critical moments.
Particularly in the chaos of an emergency scene, the lack of noise in electric vehicles makes it difficult for first responders to determine whether the vehicle is running. And 2D manuals further complicate the rescue by limiting context into the inside of the vehicle. In emergencies where every second matters, first responders have no time to waste hunting through rescue cards for the information they need. And efficiency isn’t the only concern. Searching through folders of printed materials introduces opportunities for human error, and oversights could potentially place responders themselves in harm’s way.
2D Rescue cards show all hazardous vehicle components but these can be difficult to identify on the physical truck.
Volvo Group Harnesses Augmented
Reality to Transform Emergency
With long-term goals to be 100% safe as a company,
Volvo Group recognized the need to equip first
responders with better resources in emergency
situations. Since 2019, Volvo Group’s relationship with
PTC has shown the value of augmented reality (AR) technology to empower the workforce. The latest
product of this relationship is Volvo Group’s
Emergency Response Guide: a first responder app
that digitizes vehicle data and uses AR to visualize
key information in the context of the physical truck.
With the ERG, first responders can quickly identify
the electric vehicle based on registration plate
or VIN number to view rescue information and
schematics and disengage hazards. This is made
possible through the power of AR, which overlays
digital content on the physical truck with X-ray vision
Equipped with this powerful technology, responders
can quickly pinpoint the right component, visualize it,
and pull up the most accurate rescue information in
real time. AR content also guides the user to the right
place to quickly disable and avoid hazards.
Though first responders are its primary users, service
technicians may access the ERG as well. AR enables
seamless updates and digital distribution, which also
supports Volvo Group’s sustainability goals.
Scaling the Value of the Emergency
Response Guide with Digital Twins
With the ERG providing so much value in safety
and efficiency, the manufacturer knew there was
an opportunity to scale that value. That’s why the
guide supports the initial electric vehicles that
Volvo Group made, with more to follow. To capture
all the necessary information for every vehicle, the
manufacturer ensured that each one has a digital
twin: a virtual copy of the physical product that
leverages computer-aided design (CAD) and product
lifecycle management (PLM) data. All this key data,
taken directly from Volvo Group’s engineering and
manufacturing processes, comes together to form a
digital definition, operational or experiential data, and
an informational model.
By connecting with AR and PLM data, Volvo Group
created digital twins of all vehicles before the launch
of the ERG (and this will continue to grow with every
electric truck produced). By connecting AR with
existing 3D product data, the manufacturer also
creates work instructions at scale. This combination
of solutions enables a comprehensive and immersive
experience for first responders that improves safety,
accelerates their comprehension and training time,
and helps to save more lives in case of emergencies.
All this technology working in tandem is a powerful
feat, but the real value is in the real world, where
responders can react faster, more confidently, and
with better guidance. These front-line professionals
are better equipped when putting themselves into
dangerous situations and the difference between life
and death can be measured in seconds.
Looking to the Future by Extending AR
Adoption for Uptime
Through its longstanding relationship with PTC, Volvo
Group is already using AR for manufacturing, training,
and service use cases, including upgrading training
and inspection materials, connecting with the digital
thread to improve quality control and drive workforce
efficiency, and further improving vehicle uptime by
upscaling diagnostic content through AR. Building on
that relationship, Volvo Group is taking a bold stance
in harnessing the power of AR technology to improve
safety for first responders and drivers.
Safety and innovation are synonymous with the Volvo
brand, and Volvo Group is fully immersed in its digital
transformation journey. What else does the future
hold for AR at Volvo Group? Watch Volvo Group
present the vision for the Electric Truck Line, view
demos of the Emergency Response Guide, explore
opportunities for AR and the digital thread, and more.