By now, we’re well aware of the promises that augmented reality holds for professionals – whether it is used for showing a client a scale model through an iPad or for working with CAD in the “real world” – yet we’ve seen very little in the realm of consumers outside of novelty apps. Within the next month, Hyundai just might be one of the first major manufacturers to show how this technology can be truly useful outside of virtual room planners and zombie face apps.

The automaker’s new Hyundai Virtual Guide app is the brand’s updated take on the traditional owner’s manual and allows Hyundai owners to get under the hood and see in real-time information about repairs, maintenance and vehicle features.

In total, the app includes 82 how-to videos, six 3D overlay images that appear once users scan areas of their vehicle – such as the engine bay – and more than 50 informational guides.

“The Virtual Guide is aimed at educating our owners on how to use the functions and features of their vehicle,” Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, customer satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America.


“We modernized the idea of an owner’s manual to provide the highest-quality user experience for the growing population of tech-savvy consumers,” said Frank Ferrara, who oversaw the development of the new customer experience.

Although Hyundai is the first manufacturer to the game, could this possibly be the beginning of a new generation of repair manuals for other products, too? Perhaps most importantly – could this influence designers to put more of a focus on designing for repairability and user experiences that go beyond the typical product lifecycle?

In any case, if you sit behind the wheel of a Hyundai, you’ll be able to pick up the Hyundai Virtual Guide for phones and tablets over at iTunes and Google Play when it’s released.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.