French automobile manufacturer Renault has recently implemented a new CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) facility at its Paris headquarters. While other auto manufacturers have also implemented CAVE technology, Renault's facility boasts the highest resolution ever realized in a VR environment, with five sides of Sony-based imaging that can deliver up to 16k resolution.
Andras Kemeny is founder and head of Renault's Virtual Reality and Immersive Simulation Technologies Group, which provides mock-up and simulation tools for various departments within the company, including Vehicle Architecture, Ergonomics, and Styling.
"At Renault, we were aware of CAVE technology from the beginning, around 1990," he says. "We had talks with others in the field, including the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, where they had an early six-sided CAVE. At the time, the general consensus at Renault was that the image quality and frame rate were not sufficient for our use."
It was a chance meeting that renewed Kemeny's interest in the CAVE. "I was teaching a class at Paris Tech, and one of the invited professors was Jim Oliver, who was the head of Iowa State University's VRAC (Virtual Reality Applications Center) facility," says Kemeny. "They had one of the first 4K CAVE systems. It was really impressive, and we felt it was finally time to move foward with CAVE."