Virtual reality is making significant inroads into the automotive business on a variety of fronts.
FREMONT, CA:Virtual reality (VR) is making significant inroads into the automotive business on various fronts. Virtual prototyping enables the transfer of design processes, reducing time-to-market and reducing costs and resource consumption. However, VR is impacting other stages of the manufacturing process in the car industry.
It can assist with validation and help optimize manufacturing operations on the assembly line. Additionally, it supports ergonomics on the production line and in vehicles.
VR is both design and production-driven, but also customer-driven. It sheds light on how occupants will perceive new vehicle designs.
VR enables significant efficiency gains in critical areas of automotive manufacturing, contributing significantly to numerous facets of car production:
Design and Prototyping: Vehicle design is often a lengthy process requiring early consideration of interior and exterior aspects. One significant impediment to advancement may be a mismatch between original designs and practical engineering requirements. For instance, one could have an attractive design but insufficiently aerodynamic to ensure enhanced performance. As a result, many backs and forth movements between design and engineering tasks may occur in the quest for the optimal solution. This consumes valuable time and resources.
VR visualization and 3D modeling now enable designers and engineers to render 3D models of CAD car prototypes. This enables designers and engineers to engage 360° with colorful and accurate visualizations of vehicle ideas at a 1:1 scale. This may all occur before physical prototyping, which enables experimenting with alternative combinations much easier, faster, and more cost-effective. Additionally, it enables early verification and appraisal of specifics, such as interior design aspects.
Automobile Ergonomics: While vehicle performance is essential, driving the car is critical to effective automotive design. The ergonomic analysis is concerned with the physical interaction between a vehicle's occupants and its dimensions and interior design. The ergonomic analysis considers driver and passenger posture, perceptions of comfort and space, and instrument and mirror arrangement. While VR can be used to analyze the interior of a car, it can also provide accurate and helpful data on the driver's experience while driving. And, thanks to VR technology, all of this occurs well in advance of the vehicle entering any physical manufacturing stage. One way is to have a research participant wear a full-body tracking suit and evaluate their interaction in a simulated three-dimensional vehicle environment.
Another possibility is to combine a simulation driving platform with a 3D driving scenario. The individual effectively takes the 3D model for a simulated test drive, collecting extensive ergonomic data in the process. VR ergonomic evaluation can also be applied to the automobile assembly line, optimizing working conditions and increasing productivity.