French automobile maker Renault rolled out their first vehicle in 1898, and have been at the forefront of automotive design ever since. Needless to say, the art of automobile design has evolved somewhat over the years. Gone are the days of clay models and wind tunnels. Today’s engineers have harnessed the power of computer simulation and virtual reality to create vehicles beyond anything that could have been conceived even a few short years ago.
These days, Renault remains at the vanguard of automotive design, and Mechdyne has collaborated with them to create one of the world’s most advanced implementations of CAVE technology. Created primarily for designing Renault’s interior ergonomics, Renault’s CAVE installation is one of the highest resolution virtual environments of its kind, boasting five sides of Sony-based display systems, delivering a total of 70M 3D pixels.
For us at Mechdyne, this was a fascinating collaboration with a number of interesting challenges. Renault came to us with a comprehensive vision and a clear understanding of the current potential of VR technology.
Andras Kemeny, Department Manager for Renault’s VR and Immersive Simulation Center, is a long-time proponent of Virtual Reality technology, and spearheaded the effort to bring the CAVE system to Renault’s Paris headquarters. Andras had an opportunity to observe the CAVE system at Iowa State University, and was very impressed with its capabilities. He wisely understood that investing in CAVE technology would deliver long-term benefits, not just for Renault, but for their customers.
We had many meetings with the Renault team, to really understand their vision and gain a deep insight into their goals and objectives. We worked with them to make the most of their available space, and to create a system that could meet other potential uses going forward. Mechdyne’s ability to create systems utilizing the best available technology, regardless of brand, enabled us to tap into possibilities that might be out of reach for other partners who might be tied to a specific manufacturer.
Certainly, Andras’ familiarity with the CAVE technology meant that he and his team would push us to an even higher standard — a challenge that always excites and inspires us. Despite some challenges in accommodating physical space limitations, the end result is an amazing adaptation of our CAVE technology that has piqued the interest of several other departments at Renault.
The system is already being put to good use, and Renault and Mechdyne will be hosting a formal presentation on Thursday, June 19, 2014, at the Hotel Pullman in Versailles. The event, “Best Practices in Visualization Technologies,” will include presentations by Dr. Richard Clay, Co-Director of the University of Birmingham’s Digital Humanities Hub, Julien Berta, VP of Technology and Innovation for Mechdyne, and Daniel Beier, Visualization Technology head at Mercedes Benz Design.
Renault has been building automobiles since 1898. Today it is a multinational, multibrand group that sold more than 2.6 million vehicles in 128 countries in 2013. It has nearly 122,000 employees and 37 industrial sites, where it manufactures vehicles and powertrain parts. To meet the major technological challenges of the future while continuing to pursue its profitable growth strategy, the Renault group is:
- committed to sustainable mobility for all, with innovative solutions like electric vehicles;
- implementing an offensive strategy of international expansion;
- developing its partnerships: alliance with Nissan, cooperation with AVTOVAZ in Russia, Daimler and Mitsubishi, agreement with Dongfeng in China;
- benefiting from the complementary ranges of its three brands: Renault, Dacia, and Renault Samsung Motors.