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Automakers Kia and Hyundai Embrace New Vehicle Development VR Technology

A new virtual reality (VR) technology may cut down the costs and development times for both the automakers. It is also expected to be used for vehicle production in the future. A new VR-based design evaluation system was released recently by Hyundai and it’s subsidiary brand Kia at the company’s global design HQ. The new system, unveiled at the Hyundai Kia Namyang R&D Center in South Korea, exhibits a greater focus on utilising VR to improve vehicle development workflows.

The new virtual reality technology makes use of various development implementations, letting the company’s design and engineering teams perform development verification and design assessment processes. This new system also incorporates three-dimensional computer-aided design technology that enables better accuracy of the virtual vehicle and component models.

Making cars in VR. Image source: Techhq.com

Engineers and vehicle designs of the company can put on VR headsets to enter the virtual domain of developmental simulations. A 36-sensor motion-tracking setup helps to perceive and track the movements and precise locations of users, in real-time. The VR-based design evaluation system is capable of supporting 20 users simultaneously, thereby facilitating never-before-seen levels of cross-team collaboration.

The facility, now equipped with cutting-edge VR technology, lets both the brand’s designers to efficiently evaluate various design concepts during early-phase development, through methods that were considered practically impossible before. The VR system performs a set of key functions that are set to make the development of vehicles faster and more convenient. It can perform simulations of both exterior and interior design elements, including variations of materials, lighting types, and colours. But the technology goes even one step further. Its users can simulate the operations of different vehicle components such as the boot lid, mirrors, and doors.

The technology is a part of the USD 12.8 million (KRW 15 billion) Namyang Research and Development Center investment by the auto makers in March 2019. By implementing the VR development processes in the stages of r&d and pre-production, Hyundai and Kia are estimating a reduction of about 20 percent in development time and 15 percent reduced annual development expenses. The introduction of these cutting edge virtual technologies have more benefits than time and cost reduction. They will also raise profitability and start a series of expanding R&D investments from the two brands.

Endless possibilities in VR. Image source: Hyundai.com

Hyundai and Kia have plans to expand the incorporation of VR technologies for design, manufacturing and product planning. They also intend to use the technology for facilitating real-time collaboration across its worldwide design centres.

Albert Biermann, Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group, shared his views about the development. He remarked that the process of virtual development is needed for producing fast responses to customer needs, and big changes within the automation industry. Biermann said that fortified virtual methods can raise profitability and improve quality. They will also result in an increase in R&D investments for staying competitive and mobile in the future.

The VR technology has already been harnessed by Hyundai to produce the HDC-6 Neptune Concept vehicle, showcased at a North American commercial show.

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