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Automotive Industry Revolution: How BMW Leverages AR & VR in Car Productionby@sophie-zoria
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Automotive Industry Revolution: How BMW Leverages AR & VR in Car Production

by Sophie ZoriaMarch 12th, 2020
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The main indicators of car competitiveness are price, quality, technical specifications and design, design, operating costs, and safety. The use of virtual reality-based solutions can further improve the efficiency of product development. Virtual reality systems allow you to use a virtual prototype instead of a full-scale model. BMW’s Mixed Reality Laboratory has created a mixed reality lab combining Unreal Engine with real physical equipment. It delivers experience with a much greater degree of immersion compared to virtual reality alone. The company believes that expanding the AR development to motorcycles is quite natural.

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The main indicators of car competitiveness are price, quality, technical specifications, design, operating costs, and safety. In order to increase the competitiveness of automobiles, it is necessary to improve product development methods, introduce new design technologies, use computer capabilities, and mathematical modeling in all aspects of experimental design work. But the central aspect is to follow the latest technology trends. Important tools, such as AR and VR, are already widely used in the automotive industry.

VR & AR in Auto Production

VR development services are widely used by large companies such as Peugeot, Citroen, Land-Rover, Jaguar, Boeing, etc. The use of virtual reality-based solutions can further improve the efficiency of product development. It provides an opportunity to instantly evaluate the results of designers work when the real product is presented in the form of a digital model. Let’s consider the main advantages of using VR/AR in the automotive industry:

  • Virtual reality systems allow you to use a virtual prototype instead of a full-scale model. The design of the car is developed in parts. If there are flaws in the model assembly, then using virtual reality technology, you can quickly fix design flaws.
  • VR allows replacing real tests with computer ones. By removing crash tests, companies will reduce the time and cost of creating a new model.
  • The use of services of AR/VR development companies can dramatically improve the design quality, significantly reduce development time, and the cost of the design process.
  • The use of Augmented reality technology at the stage of car maintenance and repair will allow service stations to work more efficiently. To take advantage of additional reality, you need a tablet or VR glasses. By pointing the device’s camera at the car, it is possible to integrate the necessary additional information into the existing image. This approach will significantly reduce the preparation time for work and simplify the maintenance process.

BMW’s Mixed Reality Laboratory

BMW has been working with VR technology for a long time. The company has created a mixed reality lab combining Unreal Engine with real physical equipment. It delivers experience with a much greater degree of immersion compared to virtual reality alone. The Mixed Reality test bench consists of a simulated car interior with a steering wheel, pedals, and adjustable seats, as well as a VR system running on Unreal Engine 4.

With the possibilities that virtual reality developments provide, BMW engineers can improve the aesthetic characteristics of the car’s interior, as well as focus on the design of the interface, usability and other tasks related to the human factor. The solutions to these problems would have been impossible within the framework of traditional two-dimensional design on the monitor screen.

For example, the designer wants to check how convenient it is to control the car’s infotainment system when the steering wheel is completely locked or, for example, when the seat is folded back. A poorly designed user interface can significantly affect such important parameters as safety, accessibility, and comfort. In the BMW Mixed Reality Laboratory, tasks like this, as well as many others, can be modeled both visually and physically.

High-Tech Motorcycle Helmet

F-35 fighter pilots have been using helmets with augmented reality for a long time, which allows them to follow the readings of instruments and weapons systems without looking at the dashboard. As a result of the collaboration of BMW and DigiLens, this technology is also available for motorcyclists.

The company believes that expanding the AR development to motorcycles is quite natural. This technology can enhance both security and ease of management. Using alternative technologies, the driver needs to take his eyes off the carriageway and lower it onto a small screen where various information is displayed. The two dead zones in the review are the cause of most accidents. But, with augmented reality technology and a number of sensors installed on the motorcycle, you can display warnings about the proximity of other road users to the helmet screen, thereby preventing the number of accidents.

A display for motorcycle helmets allows drivers to monitor the level of fuel and speed, without taking their eyes off the road. The helmet is also equipped with cameras, which allows you to use it as a recorder. Using magnetic fasteners, the display is fixed inside the helmet in front of the driver’s eyes.

Repairing Glasses

BMW has equipped its technicians with augmented reality glasses, playing the role of an interactive assistant. Looking at any BMW car model with such glasses, the mechanic sees a structure with the main components and assemblies without a body shell. Prompts appear on the screen which tool to use and how to get to the problem unit.

BMW augmented reality technology is available not only to the mechanic but also to the driver. So, during normal road traffic, glasses can tell you how to behave in various traffic situations, go around a traffic jam, or warn about an accident ahead. The developers also intend to integrate the glasses with the infotainment system of the car and with a smartphone. And when parking, due to information exchange with a rear-view video camera, the driver wearing these glasses will literally feel that he has eyes on the back of his head.