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When 3D modelling and extended reality make their way into automotive design!

Ford, Volvo, Renault, Hyundai... Why have these major car manufacturers decided to use extended reality to design their vehicles?

To meet the growing expectations of consumers, manufacturers are turning to cutting-edge technologies to create innovative vehicle models.

In this article, explore how new technologies, namely 3D modelling and extended reality, are playing a crucial role in the design and prototyping of new motor vehicles.

3D modelling in automotive design

Once the initial sketches have been made by hand, on a graphics tablet or using software, the rendering phase follows to refine them, paving the way for the fundamental stage: 3D modelling. Although it first appeared in the 1980s, 3D modelling became a key stage in automotive design from the 2000s onwards, thanks to a convergence of technological advances and the development of increasingly effective software.

This technology is proving indispensable for designers for several reasons.

First of all, it gives them the ability to create extremely realistic virtual prototypes, drastically reducing iterations and the risk of errors during the final production of the vehicle.

Peugeot 208 modelisation. (Source: largus) - article modelisation 3d automobile
Peugeot 208 modelisation. (Source: largus)

Thus, designers save a considerable amount of time! Thanks to 3D modelling, they can efficiently and easily adjust the material data and their locations. The speed with which iterations can be produced means a significant reduction in costs. More virtual iterations mean fewer physical prototypes, which translates into massive savings in materials and time.

Finally, the integration of 3D models also reduces the financial costs associated with in-process adjustments, enabling designers to detect design problems at an early stage. This approach avoids the additional costs associated with last-minute rework.

Extended reality for prototype design and validation

Extended reality, which encompasses virtual, augmented and mixed reality, is increasingly integrated into manufacturing processes, including automotive design.

These advanced technologies offer a number of advantages, the three main ones being :

  • Realistic and immersive visualisation

Extended Reality allows designers and engineers to visualise their car models realistically in 3D, making it easier to understand details and proportions through immersion.

The use of extended reality at Ford

  • Real-time collaboration

These technologies encourage remote collaboration between different teams. Designers, engineers and managers share and collaborate on virtual models in real time, facilitating exchanges. As a result, modifications are made more quickly.

  • The ability to carry out precision tests

Making physical prototypes can be costly and time-consuming. Thanks to virtual reality, designers can simulate a variety of tests to assess the safety, performance and ergonomics of cars (e.g. crash tests).

Renault vehicles designed using their digital twin

In sum

This article highlights the importance of 3D modelling and virtual reality in the field of automotive prototyping. These techniques, which have emerged in recent years, have enabled automotive brands to optimise their time and costs by offering extremely realistic visualisation and immersion through virtual 3D models.

Moreover, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced 3D printing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are opening up revolutionary possibilities for the future of these vehicles. So it's fair to ask how far these technical advances could influence the automotive industry of the future...


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