HTC Vive becomes integral to BMW design process

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The announcement this week by German car manufacturer BMW that it will be using the HTC Vive in the development process of new vehicles is a prime example of how corporations are incorporating virtual reality and mixed reality technologies in their business operations.

Like other automobile manufacturers BWM has been using virtual reality systems for years, but the capabilities of these systems have been surpassed by the latest VR technology which the car manufacturer got a taste of when it received a couple of HTC Vive Developer Kits in August 2015. That is when BMW started experimenting with their new mixed reality solution for the design and development of their new vehicles.

Working with the powerful HTC Vive saves the company costs, time and effort. VR headsets like HTC Vive immerse engineers in a simulated environment where they can evaluate design aspects and vehicle components and adapt them without the cost of producing something physical.

The design and development of a new vehicle requires expertise across a wide range of disciplines, necessitating close collaboration between different professionals who might not be present at the same location. Wearing an HTC Vive, professionals in different locations can meet in the same virtual environment to work together, saving costs and time and boosting productivity.

The precise motion tracking offered by the HTC Vive Lighthouse system gives BMW engineers an immersive experience that is convincingly real. The HTC Vive is connected to high-end gaming computers running the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, completing the VR experience.

BMW’s adoption of new VR technology in its design and development processes is an early indication of the application of VR for enterprise and a positive sign for manufacturers of end-to-end VR solutions.