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MUNICH PILOT PLANT: BMW GROUP USES AUGMENTED REALITY IN PROTOTYPING | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, ATUO REPORTER


MUNICH PILOT PLANT: BMW GROUP USES AUGMENTED REALITY IN PROTOTYPING

Munich. The BMW Group uses the latest augmented reality (AR) application in vehicle concept and prototype engineering, advancing up the process by twelve months, from distinct vehicle sections to complex production stages. AR goggles provide real geometries – on a vehicle body, for instance – to be overlaid with true-to-scale holographic 3D models. Hence, various concept variants and assembly means for later series vehicles can be exacted more widely and cost-efficiently.

Michael Schneider, head of Complete Vehicle at the Pilot Plant, said that the AR goggles and CAD data allow them to find out much more quickly whether the production worker will fit the component correctly later on series production. That way, we need significantly fewer experiment setups.”

Christoph Leibetseder, head of Digitalisation, Prototyping, and Measurement Technologies at the Pilot Plant, adds that another key advantage is that it saves them time and money when they combine new vehicles into production.

Vehicle concepts visualized in 3D

Vehicles and their components are pictured on a platform linked to the BMW Group’s product data management system. CAD files of parts are drag-and-dropped from the web-based database to the AR goggles, which the experts can then use to recreate the data in 3D and their real size in a realistic environment. The AR application is managed by hand, enabling direct interaction with virtual elements.

With the AR application, a single hand movement is enough to adjust the size and the position and angle of components. Cross-sections are also possible to provide a view of the vehicle’s inner constructions. The added advantage is the collaborative working: people at distinct locations worldwide can now use multi-user mode to team up and examine designs and concepts together, and recognize any errors.

Collaboration with start-up and research organization

As part of this project, the BMW Group works with a Munich-based start-up and a research organization. Work on evolving and piloting the first augmented reality application initiated within a year at the BMW Group’s Vehicle Pilot Plant in Munich. Study and methodology expansion focuses on cloud-based visualizations and smart object identification.

Pilot Plant as a Competence Centre of the BMW Group

The BMW Group’s Pilot Plant is located in the Research & Innovation Centre in Munich, with three additional associated facilities to the north of the city: Hallbergmoos, Oberschleissheim, and Garching. With a total area of 100,000 m2, it is home to 850 associates, who work on up to six vehicle projects simultaneously. Like the series plants, the Pilot Plant can construct both electrically and combustion-powered prototypes. As the interface within development and production, it allows the outcome and the series assembly processes to be refined to maturity, ready for transfer to regular plants where they are used in series production. The Pilot Plant contains a body shop and assembly, prototype and concept car construction units, and the Additive Manufacturing Centre, a center of excellence for 3D printing.


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