How to Make Augmented Reality a Tool for Railway Maintenance Operations: Operator 4.0 Perspective

Sara Scheffer*, Alberto Martinetti, Roy Damgrave, Sebastian Thiede, Leo van Dongen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
254 Downloads (Pure)


In the last few decades, several initiatives and approaches are set up to support maintenance procedures for the railway industry in adopting the principles of Industry 4.0. Contextualized maintenance technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) overlay can integrate virtual information on physical objects to improve decision-making and action-taking processes. Operators work in a dynamic working environment requiring both high adaptive capabilities and expert knowledge. There is a need to support the operators with tailor-based information that is customized and contextualized to their expertise and experience. It calls for AR tools and approaches that combine complex methodologies with high usability requirements. The development of these AR tools could benefit from a structured approach. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to propose an adaptive
architectural framework aimed at shaping and structuring the process that provides operators with tailored support when using an AR tool. Case study research is applied within a revelatory railway industry setting. It was found that the framework ensures that self-explanatory AR systems can capture the knowledge of the operator, support the operator during maintenance activities, conduct failure analysis, provide problem-solving strategies, and improve learning capabilities. This study contributes to the necessity of having a human-centered approach for the successful adaption of AR technology tools for the railway industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2656
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021


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