Hyundai and Kia announce new VR design evaluation system.
Virtual Reality (VR) technology isn't just for making video games more immersive. More and more carmakers are starting to see the potential applications of VR in the vehicle design process, with Ford becoming one of the first automobile manufacturers to adopt the technology, as we reported back in May of this year.
Now, South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia want in. This week, the two manufacturers debuted a new VR design evaluation tool at their global design headquarters, and they're anticipating some big advantages from the tech. Overall, Hyundai and Kia expect that VR will reduce vehicle development times by 20 percent, cut annual development costs by 15 percent, and contribute to improved overall design quality.
"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," says Hyundai's Head of Research and Development, Albert Biermann. "Through reinforced virtual processes, we will enhance quality and profitability, ultimately increasing investment in R&D to secure competitiveness in future mobility."
The system allows as many as 20 designers and engineers to virtually study a design simultaneously, and it might have a big impact on future workflow. For instance, using VR, designers from Hyundai and Kia will be able to review loads of design concepts earlier in the development process more efficiently, in ways that simply aren't possible without the technology.
In the future, Hyundai and Kia hope its Virtual Reality design tools will allow employees at their European, American, Chinese, and Indian design centers to remotely collaborate with the Korean design center in real-time. And, the technology will find use in Hyundai's and Kia's product planning and manufacturing processes, as well, bringing the same benefits to other stages in the vehicle manufacturing process.
Hyundai first used its VR design tools during its design assessment of the HDC-6 NEPTUNE Concept Class 8 heavy-duty truck, shown at the 2019 North American Commercial Vehicle Show last October, and it seems likely that the tools will see more use as cars like the next-generation Hyundai Elantra approach launch.