Kia Motors Corporation and Hyundai Motor Company have debuted a new virtual reality (VR) design evaluation system.

The system is part of a KRW 15 billion ($AU18.5 million) investment in the Namyang Research and Development Centre in South Korea and the companies say that with the implementation of the virtual development processes throughout R&D and pre-production stages, they anticipate a 20 per cent reduction in vehicle development times and a 15 per cent reduction in annual development costs.

VR headsets allow the brands’ vehicle designers and engineers to virtually enter developmental simulations, with 36 motion tracking sensors detecting and tracking the locations and movement of all users, enabling each to participate accurately in real time. The new VR design evaluation system can currently support up to 20 simultaneous users, enabling greater cross-team collaboration.

The companies say the new facility allows designers from each brand to more efficiently review a variety of design concepts earlier in the developmental process and in ways that were previously physically impossible.

The system simulates interior and exterior design elements, lighting, colours and materials, and virtual environments.

According to Kia and Hyundai, the VR design quality verification processes show tremendous potential for developing safety technologies, as participants can virtually test vehicles in a variety of simulated environments and situations. Amongst others, these environments include highways, urban roadways, hills, tunnels, and low-lighting conditions.

VR also enables development teams to simulate operations of individual vehicle components such as doors, trunk lids, engine hoods, and windshield wipers. Furthermore, the system enables teams to test vehicle ergonomics and aerodynamics more efficiently and there are plans to further introduce VR technologies in production and assembly lines to create more efficient and safe working environments.

There are plans to establish remote VR design assessment capabilities that will enable real-time virtual collaboration between each brand’s design centres in Europe, America, China and India.

Further applications will see VR employed in the development of future mobility solutions, such as high-level autonomous driving enabling Hyundai and Kia to react quickly to the rapidly changing mobility landscape.

“The virtual development process is a necessary step for responding quickly and reacting with agility to the needs of customers and paradigm shifts within the automotive industry,” said Albert Biermann, Head of Research and Development Division for Hyundai Motor Group. “Through reinforced virtual processes, we will enhance quality and profitability, ultimately increasing investment in R&D to secure competitiveness in future mobility.”

Source: Motor Trader E-Magazine (Feb 2020)

8 Feb 2020

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