Car design has changed a lot in recent decades. Designers replaced pencils 3D modelingEngineers are testing future models long before physical prototypes see daylight. How? Thank you CAVE (Cave automatic virtual environment), a virtual reality system that allows them to move both inside and inside the vehicle during the design phase. The Dacia team experienced this full immersion at the Tito Technical Center in southern Romania. As a result, the interior configuration options and the spaciousness of the new Dacia Jogger have been improved. Here is their story.
While a journey into the future reminiscent of Marty McFly aboard the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 transformed by “Doc” is still in the realm of science fiction, thanks to new technologies in the auto industry, you can already be a little ahead of the present. We got to the road to Tito, where the engineers are already going on unusual adventures, sitting in mannequins … not yet found. It is a city of less than 10,000 inhabitants and is a 45-minute drive from Bucharest. It houses the Renault Group’s second largest testing center in the world. The latest technology, track networks, dozens of test stands, “torture chambers” for testing the strength of materials and … a cave room, ie. Cave automatic virtual environment. Ionot, Director of Production Environment, invites us to dive into a parallel world here. In order – paradoxically – to get as close to reality as possible.
CAVE is a tool that allows the user to connect to a simulation of reality. We can enter the vehicle and assess how the driver and passengers perceive safety, ergonomics and comfort, then make real-time corrections – Ionot, Product Ergonomics Manager
Five walls, ten projectors, six million pixels
CAVE is an excellent tool for validating design solutions for new vehicles, even before making physical prototypes for them. With holographic films projected on five walls, the immersive space surrounds users with a multi-dimensional reality. They can move around the car and get in as if it were a real model. After a full inspection with 3D glasses and thanks to the numerous interactions between the testers, you only need a few clicks to change the car’s design. Everything is scrutinized with six million pixels: the ergonomics of the dashboard controls, visibility in all corners of the car, accessibility, comfort and even the design.
CAVE is a system that complements other tools such as virtual reality goggles. With precision that matches that of the human eye and the interaction between users, the car is seen as it is in real life – Andras, Renault Group expert, immersion and virtual reality simulation
The VR system allows us to validate vehicle characteristics at a very early stage of design. By reducing the number of physical prototypes and limiting modifications in the final design stage, we save more than €2 million annually – Ionot, Product Ergonomics Manager
A new virtual world
Walking on mountain roads without leaving your room can seem impossible. However, with CAVE, testers often perform complex tasks. For example, to test the third row of seats in the new seven-seater, family-run Dacia Jogger, a thirteen-seat hybrid was selected and transported to a virtual world. Young and old (anthropometrics are analyzed!), Women and men, representatives of different professions … The conditions for choosing the testers are so precise, that the perception of the car is as close as possible to reality. The virtual route is also set up to test all sensations: passive driving (a video that creates the illusion of driving is shown even though the pedals are not activated), static consent (vision, ergonomics, design), physical sensation (comfort, safety). In the case of the New Jogger, the user experience of the CAVE immersion prompted designers to modify the vehicle’s architecture: the second row of seats has been moved forward by 20mm!
We have improved interior reconfiguration solutions and created a third row that is extremely comfortable for all occupants. We were able to reposition the seats in real time without delaying the project schedule – Ionot, Product Ergonomics Manager
In the future, multiple users will be able to interact at the same time in the same vehicle and work together. Various small LED technologies will soon allow CAVE systems to be built in ordinary rooms for design analysis, which will speed up the approval of design solutions – Andras, Renault Group expert, immersion and virtual reality simulation
Rapid approval, multiple tests, cost reduction, user interaction – this tool has many advantages that reflect the DNA of the DACIA brand. A brand that offers customized cars! New Jogger buyers can confirm this.
Source: Renault Polska