We reported last week that Tesla is using wearable tech to increase production efficiency at its factory, and cited knowledge of a promotional video that Google made in collaboration with Tesla as reason to believe that the company was using Glass hardware. Now, we have clips to share from that video to prove that, indeed, Tesla Motors did at one time trial using Google’s wearable at its Fremont factory…
Sources close to the situation told us last week that there are both Glass and Vuzix units being used in some capacity at Fremont and that Tesla was at one point running trials to compare the platforms. Tesla reached out denying our report entirely with a statement reading, “Tesla does not use Glass hardware in the Tesla Factory”. While that may or may not be technically true, below you’ll find undeniable evidence that the company did indeed trial the less-than-successful Explorer Edition.
One person familiar with Google’s plans said that the company later in the device’s life planned to market the original Explorer Edition for use in the workplace, but changed its mind at the last minute to focus on the still-unannounced Enterprise Edition that we detailed across across several exclusive reports last year at 9to5Google.
The first in this series of gifs shows a Tesla worker walking up to a Model S and scanning a barcode on the windshield of the car, which then shows what maintenance needs to be completed. On this vehicle, there was apparently a “paint chip” on the far right side of the bonnet. The job is shown as due “today” with a “high” priority, and after completing the report the worker is shown marking the job as complete on his Glass unit with just a few swipes.
In this second clip, the same worker is shown wearing Glass and inspecting the seals of the trunk of another Model S. The “seal pucker” on this car apparently needs to be “smoothed and repositioned with adhesive”. This is also a “high” priority repair, apparently.
The last clip shows a few more workers wandering around the Fremont factory with Glass mounted to their head. The first worker you can see shows his Glass display with “Details,” “Start repair,” and “Get help” options. This screen matches identically with the image we showed you last week that came from the APX-Labs website. (APX is the company that we told you now sells wearable solutions to Tesla.) This UI also looks similar to the new version of Skylight that has been shown on video.
Tesla produced roughly 50,000 vehicles last year, and is set to produce between 80,000 and 90,000 this year — and could potentially hit 500k by the end of the decade. Optimizing its productivity of these vehicles would obviously be attractive, and while it may not be Glass that the company is using anymore, APX touts on its homepage that its “proven results” from many companies show 25% improved overall productivity, 30% fewer errors and 20% greater uptime. Of the devices that APX offers, if not Glass, Vuzix hardware seems likely to be one that Tesla is using at Fremont now.