Car companies have been using virtual reality to visualize and analyze the models before they go on sale in the market. The idea is to identify areas for improvement before beginning the physical manufacturing process. This way car designers and engineers can try different parts and concepts in a faster and more efficient way.
According to Javier Díaz, head of the SEAT Prototype Centre , the Spanish car company has been using virtual reality for the last 20 years. “It helps us optimize our production processes and accurately visualize the product we’re going to manufacture” says Díaz.
“More specifically, the use of this technology has reduced by 30% the production time of prototypes, the stage prior to the launch of a car. Before, tables measuring more than 10 metres in length to spread out the plans, countless lists of car parts and months of work were needed, but now, thanks to virtual reality, a single computer is all that is necessary to visualize the entire car and make improvements much more quickly.”
Javier Díaz says SEAT used virtual reality technology when designing the new model Ateca: “More than three years elapsed since the moment we saw the initial images until the car went on sale. During that time we analyzed every centimeter of the car and made numerous decisions to improve it; in particular we implemented more than 800 improvements in the virtual stage”.
Canon is also known to be developing a system to help car manufacturers prototype products. The system is called “The MREAL System for Mixed Reality”.
Combined with a special headset and a software platform MREAL can blend augmented and virtual reality images through a pair of cameras positioned in front of the wearer’s eyes. The result is then displayed on a monitor to enable faster prototyping.
Not only the manufacturing, but virtual reality can also bring an innovative car sales experience too.
Earlier this year a British visualization company ZeroLight, has entered a partnership with Audi, to deliver the visualization of the new Audi models in virtual reality. ZeroLight’s VR experience allows buyers to try different options in real time for a more personalized shopping experience. The Audi VR experience will be coming to selected Audi stores later this year, with a support from HTC Vive and NVIDIA.