Design Interactive’s Matt Johnston, the chair of the AR/VR task force of the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance council will be speaking at the TMC’s Future Truck session in Raleigh Durham along with Holly Gerke of Penske. The session will take place Tuesday September 17th, from 2-3 at the Raleigh Convention Center.


I had a chance to speak with Matt about what the audience can expect during the session.


First, what is the role of the AR/VR task force within the TMC?

The task force is a response to the growth of this technology in other industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, education and defense. There is certainly some apprehension with respect to adopting this technology in the trucking industry. Stakeholders, be they fleets, suppliers, OEMs or dealers have some serious and legitimate questions about the value of AR and VR for their operations. The task force is intended to help answer some of these questions.

In the process of answering these questions, the task force is a venue for sharing and creating best practices, guidelines and ultimately recommended practices that the TMC can endorse. We want to encourage collaboration. Many firms have invested time and money in AR/VR initiatives but are often reluctant to share the results. This task force can be a friendly venue for sharing.

Why is AR/VR an important topic for the trucking industry?

The adoption of AR and VR in industry is happening and if a firm hasn’t explored yet, this technology is going to be an inevitable part of operations and training in the near future. But you don’t adopt just because other industries are finding success. We have to look at some of the challenges facing the industry such as a struggle to recruit, retirements draining knowledge, the significant increase in the complexity of equipment including the adoption of autonomous vehicles and electrification.

AR and VR are just two tools that may help address each of these challenges. For example, the next generation technician is growing up with AR on their phones and tablets and VR headsets can now be purchased for less than the cost of a gaming console.As they become more ever – present this technology may be effectively used in recruiting or as training devices. The key though is to evaluate the technology and the software for how well they might help address these challenges. If the next generation develops an expectation for it, it is in the best interest of the trucking industry to explore the best use cases today.

The adoption of AR and VR is happening and if a firm hasn’t explored yet, this technology is going to be an inevitable part of operations and training in the near future.

What can the audience expect during the session?

There will be two speakers this time, myself and Holly Gerke of Penske. Together we will be speaking on the value of AR and VR. Ms. Gerke will be speaking about how Penske, a very large firm envisions the potential use of AR. I will share the results of a pilot program that was a collaboration between a large fleet and a part supplier. In particular, I will share how technicians responded to the technology initially and how well it ultimately support training on an infrequent but important task. Lastly, I will share the vision of a technical college out of Orlando. They are a very forward thinking school that is incorporating the use of AR and VR into their technician curriculum. What makes them so interesting is that they also have a separate program that teaches students how to create AR and VR experiences.

Moving forward, what is the vision for the task force?

I want to make sure that we address the needs of different stakeholders. This means sharing best practices that resonate with fleet maintenance operations but also with suppliers, OEMs, dealers and the technical schools. This isn’t about providing answers necessarily, but rather giving these firms the tools they need to make effective decisions. We hope to create a friendly venue for firms, even competitors to share their experience, create new recommended practices and standards for how the technology can be used but first we want to just encourage members of the TMC to get started.

If you are planning to attend TMC and are interested in checking out the AR/VR session here are more details:

Who: Matt Johnston, Design Interactive and Holly Gerke, Penske

What: Topics on the value of Augmented and Virtual Reality to the Trucking Industry

  • Value of AR and VR to a large fleet
  • A collaborative pilot program between a fleet, supplier and service provider
  • A vision for how AR/VR can improve technical school training programs

Where: Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh NC.

When: Tuesday, September 17th, 2pm – 3pm (Future Truck runs all day)

For more information about AR, VR and Design Interactive’s services please contact Matt Johnston at

To learn about Design Interactive’s XRMentor, an enterprise augmented reality job aid and training solution, visit for more information!