The 3D development company Unity Technologies, known for its widely used virtual and augmented reality gaming platforms, has spent the past three years working with automakers to help improve areas from vehicle design to employee training.
The adaptability of Unity’s 3D platforms has been a major part of the technology’s appeal, whether it’s having the ability to view and perfect vehicle design work in real-time at real size or using the technology to visualize a car at scale in a driveway in an augmented reality app or virtual reality-configured showroom.
Automakers embracing Unity
Automakers are embracing virtual reality with help from a gaming company. Unity Technologies is probably best known for developing mobile games; the company claims 60 percent of the global market uses its software. But Unity has quietly worked with major automakers to develop virtual reality tools, new human-machine interfaces, and more under its Unity Automotive division.
The company shifted from building games to “building the tools for building games but soon noticed that automakers were interested in using those same tools for other things.
One of those uses is design. Automakers can combine Unity’s software with VR hardware like the HTC Vive to build full-scale models of new cars in virtual reality. This allows designers and engineers at Audi to physically walk around a virtual car to see how it looks, which saves the cost and time required to build a physical model. It also means designers and executives can see a new car no matter where they are.
“It’s now possible for an executive … to put on a VR headset and get into the car,” even if the car hasn’t been built yet, McDonough said. A real seat and steering wheel can be used to make the experience more realistic. Unity claims this approach can save $3 million to $5 million per car design.
Unity is more than gaming
It’s not just auto industry executives that can use VR to interact with objects that don’t exist in the physical world. Unity says automakers are also using its tech to layout virtual assembly lines, both to train workers and to anticipate any issues before installing equipment for real at a factory. Volkswagen uses this tech to train workers across 120 global production sites, according to Unity.
Once the cars are built, Unity-based programs can render them in detail, allowing customers to virtually inspect a car on a screen before heading to the dealership. Texel used this tech to create displays for the Lincoln Experience Center, where customers can go through a Lincolns’s features and try out options like paint colors without having to travel to a dealer lot. In addition to reducing shopping time for customers, Unity notes that it allows dealers to reduce inventory. There’s no need to keep a car with a particular set of options on-site just to show to customers if it can be re-created digitally.
Going forward, Unity hopes to exploit two other major trends in the automotive industry: Advanced human-machine interfaces and self-driving cars. The company plans to use “learnings” from game development to create better HMI for future infotainment systems.
Unity Radically improving Science Education
The Unity Education team’s goal is to help anyone, in the world, at any level learn how to use Unity. Whether you’re online trying a tutorial on Learn or offline building a game for your class, Mobcoder is here to help you on your journey. Let’s take a look at how Unity is making an impact in schools all over the world.
The next generation of educational technology should let learners dive into interactive worlds and explore complex scenarios and concepts in completely new ways.
Enabling laboratory courses to move online (either fully or partially).
With virtual labs, science education can take place anywhere, anytime. Whether you’re looking to move an entire course online or just complement your teaching with virtual labs.
Closing the knowledge gap.
Unity education applications allow students with a learning tool that can be used at their own pace and in their own time. This allows students with lower knowledge and skill levels to catch up with their peers.
Increasing student engagement.
Using gamification and storytelling approaches to engage students in course materials. Teachers can track student activity, allowing for intervention & support when students are not engaging with course materials.
Preparing students for the lab
Students are now able to access the virtual version of the lab practical to use beforehand, teaching them the techniques, skills, processes, protocols, and underlying theory. Students can learn from trial and error in the virtual lab before reaching the physical lab.
Improving students’ conceptual understanding
The incorporation of pedagogical techniques has proven to facilitate a better understanding of theoretical information, including recall-based learning, visual learning, active learning, gamification & storytelling.
Providing high-quality science education at low costs
Unity has given students access to advanced, expensive equipment. There is no need for support staff or maintenance. This new technology is economical and cost-effective to what physical lab costs.