Hyundai’s New Virtual Owners Manual Means No Glovebox Fumbling
To get car information into the hands of drivers faster and more easily, Hyundai has reinvented the owner's manual using Augmented Reality for the Hyundai Virtual Guide app.
Augmented Reality overlays a smartphone's or tablet's camera image with words and links to learn about what is shown on the screen.
Instead of fumbling through an owner's manual book, a car owner points a camera at the dash, instrument cluster, or engine to discover its functions and how it works.
While some manufacturers have moved their owner's manuals from paper to CD- or DVD-ROM, Hyundai is the first mainstream automaker to launch an augmented reality owner's manual app. The Hyundai Virtual Guide app allows consumers to use their smartphone or tablet to get how-to information for repairs, maintenance, and vehicle features. The new app, available later this year, recognizes more than 45 major features of the Hyundai Sonata.
Once the Virtual Guide app is downloaded to the owner's smartphone or tablet, the user holds the camera over the instrument cluster or dash where words appear, describing the lights icons or buttons. Then the user taps on the function to learn more.
"Most people enjoy playing with their phones. The Virtual Guide app makes it easy for them to see what an indicator light means," said Michael Deitz, senior group manager for Blue Link and owner marketing at Hyundai. He says that the app saves time because owners don't have to take out the manual and look at the index to find what they are looking for.
Automotive controls, warning lights, and safety features are things that to an average consumer can be daunting. The virtual guide is designed to help and be intuitive.
"It's a great way for our customers to learn how to use their cars. We understand that for some people radio presets or phone pairing can be a challenge. We've now made it easier than ever because with your phone you click on audio and it will take you to a YouTube video that gives you step-by-step instructions on `How do I pair my phone with the vehicle'," said Deitz.
The Virtual Guide helps the user find the oil dipstick, the window washer fluid, and coolant and explains what those levels mean. It shows how to check the oil and how to read the dipstick, including wiping it with a cloth. Hyundai says it used consumer survey results to discover the features users found the most difficult to use or were the most confused about. The app was designed put the features into "small, easy-to-understand bites of information." For cars with spare tires, the guide shows how to change a tire; for Hyundai models without a spare tire, the guide shows how to use the "Tire Mobility Kit."
The Virtual Guide app contains 82 how-to videos, six 3D overlay images that appear once users scan areas of their vehicle like the engine bay, and more than 50 informational guides. It does not contain the entire user's manual. For more complex information, the user may still need to consult the user's manual. However, the Hyundai Sonata user's manual can be downloaded as HTML files and viewed on most devices.
At launch, the Hyundai Virtual Guide is compatible with the 2015 Sonata model, and will also be available for additional models such as the 2016 Sonata, Santa Fe, Tucson, Veloster, Accent, Genesis, and Genesis Coupe. The new 2017 Elantra will be the first model year for the Elantra series to offer the Virtual Guide App. The app will be available for free download on the Apple App store and Google Play.
The Virtual Guide app is separate from the Hyundai Blue Link apps for smartphones, smart watches or Apple Watch which perform remote features such as remote start, door lock/unlock, honking, or vehicle locating.
Lynn Walford has been writing and editing for over two decades. Her credits include Yahoo Autos, Investor’s Business Daily, TopSpeed, TechHive, Automotive IT News and Wireless Week. She currently is the editor of AUTO Connected Car News, covering new automotive technology. She is honored to be a Knight Digital Media News Entrepreneur Fellow. Walford learned to drive in her sister’s 1967 Mustang convertible. Her first car was an Alfa Romeo Guilietta Sprint, followed by a 1965 Thunderbird convertible. Her next car was a 1964 Alfa Romeo Guilia Spyder which led to a series of Toyotas and other “more reliable cars. She currently drives an all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf. Walford resides in the Los Angeles area.