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BMW Utilizes Augmented Reality in Its Vehicle Prototyping Work

For vehicle concept and prototype engineering, the BMW Group, a recognized name in the automobile sector, is utilizing a new AR application. This augmented reality application will accelerate the process by nearly a year, from individual vehicle segments through to complicated production levels.

Augmented Reality goggles facilitate real geometrics, for example on a vehicle body, to be overlaid with holographic 3D models. Thus, numerous concept variants and assembly processes for new series vehicles can be evaluated cost-efficiently and flexibly.

Michael Schneider who heads the Pilot Plant’s Complete Vehicle has said that the CAD data and AR goggles let them quickly find out whether the production worker can appropriately fit the component in series production. That way, they require far fewer test setups.

Christoph Leibetseder who oversees Digitalisation, Prototyping, and Measurement Technologies talked about another big advantage and that is, it saves them money and time when they bring new vehicles into production.

3D Visualization of Vehicle Concepts

Vehicles and their parts are visualized on a platform linked to the globally-renowned automobile firm’s product data management system. The components’ CAD files are incorporated from the virtual database to the AR goggles. The experts can then use them for a 3D reproduction of the data in their original size and within a practical environment. As the AR application is hand-controlled, it allows for direct interaction with digital parts.

With the augmented reality application, just a hand movement is sufficient to modify the size, position, and also the angle of parts. Apart from these, cross-sections can be developed to present a view of the vehicle’s internal structures. One more advantage is the collaborative working: people at various locations can now utilize multi-user mode to team up. They can then review concepts and designs together, and also locate any mistakes.


A Collaboration Between a Research Organization and a Start-Up

For this project, the popular automobile company is working with a research organization and a Munich-based start-up. Work on creating and piloting the first AR application started within a year at the company’s Munich-based Vehicle Pilot Plant. Research and methodology development’s focus lies on cloud-based visualizations as well as smart object recognition.


Pilot Plant as BMW Group’s Competence Centre

BMW’s Pilot Plant is situated in the Research and Innovation Centre, Munich. Also, there are three more associated facilities located to the north of the region. The vast area is home to 850 associates. They work on up to six vehicles simultaneously.

Similar to the series plants, the Pilot Plant can assemble both combustion and electrically-powered prototypes. Acting as the interface between development and production, it facilitates not just the product but also the series assembly procedures to be refined to maturity and ready for shifting to main plants where they are utilized in series production.

The Pilot Plant contains not just a body-shop but also an assembly and prototype and concept car development units along with the Additive Manufacturing Centre, an excellent place for 3D printing.

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