In the wake of “dieselgate” scandal, the news crews out without too much noise, yet it is one of those sufficiently clear to let understand the areas that open up to professional use of the virtual reality (VR) devices. Bmw at the beginning of April announced that it will use Htc Vive VR headsets and a “mixed reality” system in the development of new vehicle models.
Bmw: with Htc Vive VR greater flexibility, lower costs
Bmw will be the first car manufacturer to introduce a “mixed reality” into its vehicle development, gaining “some significant advantages over the VR systems that have existed to date, and is the first step towards (the goal of) making virtual reality a very real part” of the work untill now done through developer workstations “in the not-too-distant future”.
Bmw has been employing VR systems in the development process since the 1990s, now since this Spring “components from the computer games industry have been allowing engineers and designers to immerse themselves more and more often in virtual worlds that are increasingly realistic”. The shorter innovation cycles of consumer electronics result in a “far wider scope of functions together with lower costs” enabling thus “more vehicle functions to be translated to a VR model in ever more realistic fashion” and to “scale the system to many different developer workstations with little effort”.
VR models for the future Bmws
Several HTC Vive developer kits have already been in use by Bmw engineers since Autumn 2015. The headset’s core components consist of two high-resolution screens and a laser-based tracking system that covers an area of 5 x 5 metres in the Bmw application.
The graphics are computed by software that normally serves to produce the very best computer gaming graphics (specifically Bmw si uses Epic Games Unreal Engine 4) with a stable rendering of 90 frames per second while achieving photo-realistic quality. The hardware is that of high-end gaming computers with water-cooled, overclocked components (including Intel Core i7 cpu and two Nvidia Titan X graphic cards).
Since visual sensations alone are not enough , in additino to Htc Vive VR headsets Bmw employs a reusable interior assembly which, thanks to the use of rapid prototyping, further enhances perception by producing a “mixed reality” experience and enables to experience the vehicle in different environments thanks to precise, stereoscopic acoustic playback.
Finally, HTC Vive Lighthouse tracking system scans in a few milliseconds the room with an invisible light field that is tracked by sensors on the VR headset and the controllers, enabling ultra-precise tracking of every body movement and even the slightest alteration in the viewing direction.
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