Image: The Sun
While talk of self-driving cars and autonomous technology is everywhere at the moment, not least in Volkswagen’s latest concepts the I.D. Buzz and SEDRIC; the very latest breakthroughs in modern tech are revolutionising other parts of the automotive infrastructure as well. What do you need to build a Volkswagen with cutting edge technology? Cutting edge car design tools of course!
The Future Factory
And where are those tools found? Inside the Future Factory – or Volkswagen’s Virtual Engineering Lab, if you’d prefer. Yes, stepping inside the Wolfsburg-based installation is like stepping into tomorrow, chiefly due to Volkswagen’s employment of Microsoft’s Hololens tool for design and visualising the latest car concepts.
Hololens is a Mixed-Reality headset that projects computer images onto the real world, and allows for full interactivity too. While this might sound like a deleted scene from Minority Report, this technology is here and with voice commands and gestures, VW’s top line engineers craft virtual cars before their very eyes. At the moment the tech is solely active in the design stage, however VW computer engineer Frank Ostermann has claimed it will soon be utilised to ‘test physical workings’.
With the subject of each project being entirely virtual, the platform actually allows for international collaboration, with engineers across the world able to work on the same piece of work concurrently, as if they were in the same room. The prospect also increases productivity and accuracy, allowing for detailed reporting on even the tiniest changes to the design and setup of the virtual model.
Ostermann said of the technology “Just a few years ago, this was all science fiction. […] Now it is clear that this is how we will be developing our next models.” Exciting times indeed.
As cars get cleverer, so does the technology used to create them, and it seems with the Hololens, Volkswagen are truly at the forefront. Stayed tuned to the Sinclair Volkswagen blog for more updates!