he BMW Group is utilising a new Augmented Reality (AR) application in its manufacturing, to optimise vehicle concept and prototype engineering, which can quicken the process by as much as 12 months, from individual vehicle sections through to complex production stages.
The BMW Group is collaborating with a Munich-based start-up and a research organisation to develop the first AR application commenced within a year at the BMW Group’s Vehicle Pilot Plant in Munich. Research and methodology development focuses on cloud-based visualisations and smart object recognition.
With the use of AR glasses, virtual images in real scale holographic 3D models are overlaid onto a vehicle’s body, enabling a range of concept variants and assembly processes for future series vehicles can be assessed flexibly and cost-efficiently.
Head of Complete Vehicle at the Pilot Plant, Michael Schneider stated:
“The AR goggles and CAD data allow us to find out much more quickly whether the production worker will be able to fit the component properly later on, in series production. That way, we need far fewer test setups.”
Head of Digitalisation, Prototyping and Measurement Technologies at the Pilot Plant, Christoph Leibetseder added:
“Another key advantage is that it saves us time and money when we integrate new vehicles into production.”
Vehicle Concepts Visualised in 3D
Vehicles and their components can be visualised on a platform which is linked to the BMW Group’s product data management system. Different elements can be transferred from the web based database and to the AR glasses, which engineers can then replicate the information in 3D, in the real world. The AR application is controlled by hand with simple hand movements, so engineers are able to interact directly with the virtual components, reposition them and also increase the size to get a better view. As well as just seeing the virtual components, engineers are able to see a cross section of a vehicles’ inner structure.
The AR app allows collaborative working, now people at different locations around the world can have a multi-user mode to team up and review designs and concepts together, and identify any errors.