BMW is tapping the design capabilities of a tech company that specializes in Mixed Reality Vehicle Development which enhances the process of making concept cars. Combining the best of real and virtual worlds, Unreal Engine uses sophisticated technology to generate virtual and realistic vehicle pieces. This practice is fast gaining momentum as other vehicle makers are gradually turning to mixed virtual reality to develop new products.
The process of creating new car designs is now quick and painless as possible. The carmaker relies on Unreal Engine’s rendering capabilities to create virtual surfaces and objects overtop 3D-printed prototype vehicle pieces. This lets designers and engineers examine how various materials or surfaces will look on a final product vehicle without having to actually build it first.
BMW and Unreal Engine's Mixed Reality Vehicle Development entails building elements including interior surface coverings, windows sizes, and different car functions using VR (Virtual Reality) overlaid on top of the rapidly prototyped 3D-printed basic surfaces. This saves an enormous amount of time and money compared to the traditional concept car process. In particular, this new process identifies issues prior to building the prototype, the TechCrunch reported.
Aside from costs and time saved using mixed VR, the car manufacturer also says its new facilities can easily facilitate collaboration between designers and other staff around the world. It’s also less wasteful as it does not require the building of multiple vehicle versions of the same model to evaluate changes in the design, the Let's Go Digital reported.
It’s probably still early to call Mixed Reality Vehicle Development a slam dunk, but BMW certainly has seen the value on it. Augmented reality is also useful in safety research as shown in the CeBIT 2017 exhibition in Germany. The system also provides useful visual data such as the approaching of the vehicles, collision forces, and deformations, to reconstruct vehicle accidents and make them comprehensible.