Application of Virtual Reality technology in automotive Field - Dr. Li Xuzhou


In the automotive sector, virtual reality (VR) technology is widely available as a powerful tool for designers and engineers. Research [1] shows that according to the survey results in different industrial fields, automobile manufacturers benefit significantly from using VIRTUAL reality technology, and the application of virtual reality technology has greatly promoted the development of automobile manufacturing. Research [2] comprehensively expounds the research progress of virtual reality technology in automobile industry, such as automobile design and research and development, automobile production and maintenance teaching, automobile marketing and service, and forecasts the development trend of virtual reality technology. Research [3] introduces the virtual reality system based on virtual reality technology, and introduces the application of this system in automobile design from four aspects: appearance design review, human-computer interaction component design review, virtual performance review and remote collaboration, and virtual display. With the booming development of virtual reality technology, VR technology in the automotive industry has gradually matured from the embryonic stage.

I. Automotive service training and effectiveness research

Research [4] shows that skill acquisition (performance after training) and skill recovery (short and long training sessions) through a VE tool are more effective than non-virtual training methods. Comparing the effectiveness of different types of virtual and non-virtual training methods by simulating vehicle service execution on lego craft vehicle models, the overall results show that manufacturers investing in VE systems simulating a learn-and-do vehicle service program can significantly improve operator performance. In addition, the results of the study show that the VE system has more features than other training methods to improve operator efficiency more effectively.

Research [5] proposed a virtual training system for automobile mechanics, which is a virtual reality environment developed by using graphics engine in Unity 3D environment, allowing users to have a greater immersion in the teaching process, so as to optimize material resources, infrastructure, time, etc. The experimental results show that the system based on human-computer interaction can effectively develop skills and abilities in the field of automotive mechanics.

Research [6] explores virtual training of service operators in the automotive field, one of the most competitive and complex industrial fields. Experiential training conducted in a virtual environment is a powerful substitute for classical video training explanation. Automakers wanting to invest must consider enhanced automotive service operator training, which is more important than simply observing the process and experience of interacting with components in training 3D applications, such as LARTE-VBT, which can greatly improve the skills of trainees in acquisition programs. Furthermore, the hardware in which people experience a 3D environment has no impact on training and trainees' post-training performance, so portable and relatively inexpensive equipment can be used by the automotive industry as a tool for remote training activities. For example, by using multi-platform training applications such as Larte-VBT, automakers can offer service training to operators using different hardware (such as Oculus Rift) to access training content on a global scale with similar levels of efficiency. The popularity of portable 3D devices and multi-platform VBT applications is a major challenge facing vr practitioners and researchers in the future, with some industries poised to benefit from the next generation of portable devices. Currently, designers of VBT training applications must devote their energies to developing multi-platform software that can be used on multiple devices, while focusing their attention on the usability of the interface and the functionality of the VBT application. In fact, the effectiveness of the key themes of virtual reality training experience, and these successful applications in the industrial field, subjective perception is the final end user (for example, operators, managers, professionals, trainer) in the availability of training tools, and the extent to which they believe in, virtual training is reliable, and comparable real training. Future research is needed to further compare participants' performance after virtual training using different types of portable devices, and to compare the effectiveness of these training with other training methods such as on-hand lectures and on-the-job training.

Design verification, assembly, maintenance and engineering evaluation

Research [1] reported the application of virtual reality technology in the actual RESEARCH and development process of automobile manufacturers or manufacturers, such as Ford Motor Company, GENERAL Motors Design Laboratory and other institutions.

Process engineers in Ford lab 5 use HMD to understand the aesthetic qualities of three-dimensional vehicle designs. The rear seat of a car folds forward and the designer carefully checks the design gap, possibly allowing the customer to view the internal components. Or in another case, the engineer asks, "We need to change the shape of the end cover on the dashboard, what would that look like?" . Car models of different interior materials can be loaded into a virtual environment and compared in terms of look, feel and personality. HMD allows designers and engineers to face real life postures and visual perspectives. As one engineer explained: "I'm sitting in the car and it's real. I can open the door, open the glove box and look under the seat." Designs can be changed and reevaluated virtually quickly.

They were joined by engineers at GM's Engineering VR lab to look at a truck's front grille. They want to know what can be seen from the outside: "Can I see the AC condenser through the grille?" "After a while," Yes, we'd better paint it black." VR allows them to notice and modify visual aspects of design that were previously unseen until production. "VR basically eliminates 3D prototyping and we can render this model and it feels very intuitive and convenient," explained the VR Lab manager.

At Ford Motor Co., ergonomics engineers are using virtual reality to design hoses with varying maximum allowable assembly forces for standard installations. Equipped with human-machine interfaces, physical props and force sensors, ergonomics engineers estimate the power positions required to install the hoses. They use the results of the VR experience to set the most aggressive design specifications required for an installation for external vendors. Integrating feedback from assembly operators is critical to successfully determining these specifications, and data collected from ergonomic assessments in virtual reality is often used as design parameters for external vendors: "Most research is about setting goals." Virtual reality in this case provides a way to ensure that people have many heights and can safely complete assembly tasks.

In the past decade, human factors have been paid more and more attention in the design, engineering, production and maintenance of new industrial products, especially in the automobile industry. The quality of ergonomics is becoming a key standard for the success of many products [7], and ergonomics has become an important subject in automobile design. Therefore, it is important to build powerful tools into a concept car from its early stages to examine all the ergonomic aspects of the definition of a new car. Virtual reality-based technology provides designers with the flexibility to test different technologies as well as the interior and exterior aesthetics of the car. Compared to the physical prototype approach, the developed system provides cost effectiveness and time, providing an effective solution for ergonomic analysis.

Compared with traditional CAD system, virtual reality technology has obvious advantages in ergonomics. The main benefit is that real-time immersive and interactive environments can be fully experienced at scale. Any problems with ergonomic analysis can be described quickly, and designers have the advantage of working with realistic 1:1 ratios to represent virtual models. Designed with the help of different avatars, a wider range of alternative designs can be studied at an early stage of the design, rather than subjective statements coming from a limited number of testers, and one person has access to an entire database of avatars. The integration of mannequins into the VE allows designers to have a global view of human-vehicle interaction. Future work could include using more sophisticated hardware, such as full-body body tracking and rendering complex ergonomic assessments in virtual environments, where feedback systems can be combined to give users a more realistic feel.

In recent years, virtual reality technology has been widely used in all stages of product development. Using VR allows designers to reduce the production of very expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes. Virtual people are used in the automotive industry, especially for ergonomic analysis of virtual prototypes of cars. In this study, ergonomic assessments were carried out on the first Saudi Arabian car. The CATIA V5 human body building module was used to develop 50% and 95% virtual human bodies of American males, and ergonomic analysis of the driver's seat was performed using the virtual human body. The primary goal of the study was to develop a virtual environment (VE) that would allow designers and engineers to use digital models to evaluate vehicle interiors and driver seat positions in the early development stages, rather than building physical prototypes to virtually validate the project. In a semi-immersive virtual environment, a successful ergonomic evaluation of the digital model of the vehicle was carried out, and based on this, a suggestion for the driver's seat position was proposed.

Iii. Vehicle health monitoring during operation

Standard vehicle maintenance activities are challenging, time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. While there has been a lot of innovative work incorporating the latest technologies to provide updated forms of user-vehicle interaction, there has been little use of these technologies to enhance activities such as vehicle maintenance. The ability to draw similarities from both the actual interaction with the vehicle and the analysis of recorded data is critical to supporting rapid and effective decision making. In order to blur these differences between the real and virtual worlds, the "garage Age" was proposed -- an ecosystem that enabled maintenance personnel to interact with both worlds in a common environment. By learning historical changes in auto parts, user behavior, and feedback, this hybrid ecosystem allows multi-channel communication between users with personalized up-down insights, enabling users to make data-driven decisions on the move [8].

Improve the efficiency of technological development and research

Research [9] proposed a real-time driving model VH and an interactive operation modeling method. The real operators are the initiators of the assembly and disassembly activities and they are involved in the whole process. In this sense, virtual human, as the embodiment of real operator, plays an important role in virtual assembly and maintenance simulation. Through the detailed analysis of the interactive disassembly process, the functional requirements of VH are determined. According to the defined requirements, the following work is completed. Firstly, the real-time driving model is established by using dynamic constraints to support personalized driving of human body model. Then, a driving error model is proposed to quantitatively analyze the influence of motion capture system on VH driving error. On this basis, a VH interactive operation modeling method based on constraint processing is proposed, including VH real-time driven method and VH real-time driven method interactive operation modeling method. The method carries out interactive operation modeling in the scenarios of VH directly operating products, VH operating tools, and VH using tools to operate products. Finally, the assembly simulation of automobile engine connecting rod cap is carried out, and the user survey is carried out, and the results verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the model and method. The innovation of the research lies in the integration of the complete VH model into the virtual reality environment for interactive assembly and disassembly operations.


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