AR in Mercedes-Benz’s Rescue Assist app gives first responders an inside look

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Mercedez-Benz has been putting QR codes on the the B-pillars and inside the fuel door of new cars since November 2013, and those have provided a way for first responders and emergency personnel to quickly get detailed model info about any Mercedes-Benz vehicle involved in an accident using the Rescue Assist mobile app. Now, an update brings 3D imagery, as well as augmented reality, to the existing app, letting people involved in rescue operation get an even better overall picture of the situation when an accident happens.

Through the new AR features, emergency personnel can see color-coded representations of internal components, including key areas to be wary of when doing things like cutting through vehicles to free trapped passengers. The app will provide insight into where things like fuel lines, batteries and other electrical components are located, in order to help reduce the risk of further damage or injury that arises when a car needs to be unconventionally dismantled in order to save lives.

The Rescue Assist app will also still provide resources including rescue cards, which provide an overview of relevant safety info specific to each particular model (which includes not only Mercedes-Benz consumer cars and vans, but also some Fuso-branded commercial vehicles.

This is the kind of AR use case that led a lot of people to think Google Glass had potential as a tool in specific industry verticals, emergency response among the most often cited. Baking it into an existing app for use with the smartphones that rescue personnel are likely to have on them anyway is probably a much better application of the tech, even if it isn’t hands-free.