Jaguar Land Rover Currently Uses Virtual Reality To Improve The Modern Designs Of Their Cars
Virtual reality has provided numerous companies with many advantages when it comes to designs and staging. Developers and artists utilize it as a platform where they can create concepts of their imagination with low overheads. They can be reworked with finite tuning in an immersive environment, which is exactly what the famous carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, is doing with their upcoming vehicles.
The company has recently reported that they’re using virtual reality to improve and modernize the designs of their cars. Their latest example came from the LA Auto Show where Jaguar introduced the upcoming I-Pace Electric SUV in a fully immersive VR environment. Guests to Jaguar’s product show were sat down at a round table to observe the concept-car in VR using the HTC Vive headsets. Guests examined this fully electric vehicle that boasts a 90kWh battery producing 516lb-ft of torque and 400 HP (reaching 60 mph at around 4-seconds).
The imagination of these vehicles such as the Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV is first conceived at their Virtual Innovation Centre. “Jaguar’s Virtual Innovation Centre is a bespoke 3D resource which creates 3D prototypes for engineers and designers to analyse, without the need for physical models,” said Brian Waterfield, Virtual Reality & High-End Visualisation Technical Lead. “The centrepiece of the facility is the Virtual Reality Cave where 3D high-definition images of cars, or parts of them, are loaded onto three walls and the ceiling, either as nearly photorealistic images or CAD models. You can move the car in any direction, dismantle it, climb inside and even cut sections through it.”
Jaguar currently uses various VR solutions to design and create their concept vehicles. “At the moment, we’re looking at head-mounted displays very closely, things like the Vive and Oculus Rift, as well as portable tools like Samsung Gear, plus the Virtual Cave, optical tracking and haptic technology,” said Waterfield. “We work with local suppliers and have 4k screens, 3D screens, the latest switching gear and audio gear. It’s all about creating as detailed a virtual picture as possible.”
The company also utilizes VR in a different facet from their competitors. Jaguar Land Rover is looking for a niche where they can improve the driver experience by first improving their concept in the virtual world. Waterfield states, “One thing we’re looking at closely is how sensory immersion works. As you can imagine, most of us see or hear things first – so we’re researching how to use those different senses within the virtual world; how do they combine, how do they make people react, how do they influence you? We’re really trying to push those boundaries.
Waterfield claims, “The more you immerse your senses, the closer you get to a ‘real world’ encounter.” Jaguar wants to replicate that experience in their vehicles before it becomes a physical product. “There’s still a long way to go – we basically need to understand who we are, which nobody has quite done yet!”
When it comes to the design phase, Jaguar Land Rover does it differently versus other car manufacturers by utilizing VR. “Traditionally, you’d start with a designer working to a set of requirements based on what the market wants,” said Waterfield. “They would sketch something up and then create a clay model, probably at 40% life size. Then after five or six alternatives, they’d be working with maybe two different options. Whilst making these clays the design would be put into Computer Aided Design (CAD), and then they’d move forwards to engineering from there.
But today, we can mix the virtual world into our design process. Our designers have Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality tools – so as soon as the designer has a concept, he’ll put it into CAD. As soon as that data has been created, the designer can immerse himself in that model straightaway, and he can start to understand the customer experience. So the process gets, I wouldn’t say quicker, but it gives our designers more time and more experiences of the car. Virtual Reality offers designers exciting opportunities to experience and understand the products at an earlier stage. They can do more in the virtual world, which excites them.”
Waterfield and the Jaguar Land Rover team also believes that virtual reality provides more flexibility. It’s an environment of unlimited possibilities where you can improve a concept through infinite iterations versus building physical models where it can become a costly overhead. “In the virtual world, you can just keep building and building. So it offers designers more alternatives and more options.”
Jaguar Land Rover looks to push through the future using the virtual reality platform to strengthen their designs. “Using these tools is something that makes our next range of cars very exciting. And from what I’ve seen, we’re set to continue this trend of getting people excited. Our virtual tools will keep Jaguar Land Rover at the forefront of design. They truly allow our designers more freedom to express their creativity.” VR will be a primary platform for many designers and companies looking ahead. We look forward to more innovations created through the strengths of virtual reality.