Anytime an advance in technology transforms the way that motor vehicles are created, we’re interested in hearing about it. The auto industry advanced the craft of designing cars exponentially when CAD entered the mainstream, allowing engineers to conjure mathematical models of automotive structures that could be tested for torsional rigidity, crush capability and other critical considerations. Co-branded South Korean giants Hyundai and Kia are about to undertake the next major advance, introducing virtual reality into design processes at their global headquarters in Seoul. This new protocol will allow up to 20 designers, working remotely in different parts of the world, to simultaneously work digitally on new vehicle platforms.
Unveiling the new technological discipline at the Namyang Research and Development Center in Seoul, Hyundai and Kia rolled out the result of a $12.8 million investment in this new design practice. Besides allowing a lot of designers to work on one project all at once, the virtual reality system is expected to scissor up to 20 percent of the development time now typically required by new-vehicle projects. Virtual reality will come to be used throughout the R&D and design procedures at both brands. Virtual-reality headsets will allow operating designers to enter developmental simulations, utilizing 36 motion sensors that will allow the designers to work together in real time, regardless of location. The system was first used in the development of the HDC-6 NEPTUNE heavy truck that was first shown in October at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show. The three-dimensional system is capable of returning results with 100 percent accuracy.