Bugatti Uses Virtual Reality to Streamline Car Design Process
Advances in virtual reality now make it possible for designers to design cars completely in 3D or to view the completed designs via a redesigned model in its full scale in 3D. Doing this in virtual reality has proven to be not only cheaper, less time-consuming but also easier to execute than having the prototype made conventionally using clay.
Volkswagen’s luxury brand Bugatti is doing just that; using virtual reality to design its super cars. According to the automaker’s chief designer Achim Anscheidt, using the virtual reality headsets saves the company up to one year in design time.
According to Achim, the company is making significant savings in both cost and time by abandoning the “romance of the clay” and embracing virtual reality glasses which are so realistic that they render a great mount of design detail. The glasses also cost VW 80,000 EUR at 90% of the process as opposed to clay models which will cost as much as 400,000 EUR at the same stage.
The whole process takes about six months. With a few pair of hands against clay models, it would typically take one and a half years and require more hands at work. The VR rendering even allows the Bugatti designers to walk around the car and even step inside.
Through a multi-user function, Achim and his design team are able to stand around the virtual reality prototype of the vehicle to discuss the details of the design just like they would around a real-life physical prototype. Next, the team plans to make some adjustments using digital tools in both virtual reality and in real-time using computer models.
After the car has been designed in VR, additional improvements and corrections are made to the digital design until the overall design stands at 98%. The second model printing raises the design cost to approximately 160,000 EUR which is still far lower than the 600,000 EUR it costs with the classic prototype process based on clay.
Some designers may still have an affinity for clay but the process has already moved on to a new frontier. Virtual reality will be an integral part of automotive design in the future.