Innovation & Technology

A new take on vehicle development

#NEXTGen is a BMW Group Platform

En route to taking the functions and user experience of the BMW iX to a new level for its customers, BMW Group is turning to an innovative solution from the gaming industry and radically rethinking vehicle development.

18 November 2020

Mixed reality – an engineer’s tool

BMW is not only heralding a new era of driving pleasure with the BMW iX, but is also completely rethinking vehicle development. Traditional engineering tools are no longer adequate for developing the technological flagship. For that reason, BMW is the first manufacturer in the world to use technology from the gaming industry. Since 2015, BMW has been collaborating with video game developer Epic Games.

A mixed reality system, developed using components from the computer game industry, is used. This saves a lot of time and effort, particularly in the early stages of development. It is based on Epic Games' Unreal Engine technology, which also powers Fortnite and the racing simulator Assetto Corsa Competizione. Unlike conventional engineering tools, gaming technologies have such functions as virtual reality and the ability for users to interact.

Augmented reality in vehicle development

The BMW iX is the first car to have been developed at BMW using gaming technology. With the help of mixed reality, it is not only possible to quickly visualise vehicle functions and new interior concepts, but these tools also give developers a totally new level of flexibility. 

The ability to present vehicle functions and new interior concepts extremely quickly by means of these visual experiences in the virtual reality space opens up various new avenues – for example, simulation of journeys through cities. Here, it is possible to test aspects including visibility over the area around the car and to check how different viewing angles and seating positions affect the view of a display on a screen or how difficult it is to reach. This gives the development engineers the impression of experiencing a real-life road situation inside an actual car.

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