There are more gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines on the road than ever before, and Robert Bosch LLC has created a virtual reality training experience to help shops service vehicles equipped with the new technology.
Bosch says 37% of new vehicles use GDI technology in 2015, and more are on the way. By 2020, 49% of all new vehicles will have GDI engines. Bosch projects it will have 56% OE market share in GDI technology in 2017.
“A low percentage of the market is gasoline direct injection. We know it’s going to a high percentage,” says Rob Darrow, manager of strategic projects for Bosch. “That doesn’t change how the diagnostic tools will work, but it is something we’re trying to make people aware of because it does change the repair process and maintenance program.”
For example, carbon buildup on the intake valves is causing driveability concerns, according to Mark DeKoster, a certified Bosch trainer. “The manufacturers are dealing with that. In the meantime, we’ve got an awful lot of vehicles out there that are going to have that problem. It’s going to require a maintenance schedule on the part of the consumer, and that’s something we try to get across to the technician as well.”
Bosch is presenting the nuances of GDI service to technicians through the Bosch Xperience Mobile Tour. Two trucks are visiting approximately 40 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. from June through November 2015.
The training is geared to technicians, who are immersed in vehicle repair scenarios when they put on virtual reality goggles. The technician is in a shop, where a virtual car comes into a virtual service bay with a customer complaint associated with it. Using the goggles, technicians look at different components of the engine and diagnose the problem.
“What we’re promoting on this tour is the diagnostic technique that technicians should follow, which is to use the fuel trims in different operating conditions to get a sense of what is going on inside the engine,” says DeKoster.
Darrow says the mobile tour helps engage technicians. “Training has been pretty much the same forever. What is the future of training and how do you get tools to engage people and talk to them? That is what we’re attempting to accomplish here.”
This is the second year for the Bosch Xperience Mobile Tour. In 2014, the training took technicians through a 3-D model of a GDI engine. Bosch added the interactive component for 2015. In this year’s training, technicians are awarded points based on time and following proper procedure. The highest score in each group wins a prize for completing the repair.
The approximately two-hour long training experience is designed to be competitive, entertaining and educational. In addition, Bosch is offering full-day clinics that focus on GDI, start-stop technology, diesel systems and braking.
The Bosch Xperience is a two-fold initiative, according to Darrow. “One is to show what we can do in training. The other is to get technicians familiar with Bosch and to prefer Bosch by name when they buy their parts.”
Bosch visited the offices of Automotive Service Professional and its sister publication, Modern Tire Dealer, near Akron, Ohio, in August to present the training experience to the editorial staff.