Primer: Unity in industry

Enhance the way you design, engineer, manufacture, sell, and service your products with Unity. Unlock new possibilities for visualizing 3D data, including computer-aided design (CAD) files, in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and more.

Volvo Cars and Unity

Volvo Cars uses Unity at virtually every stage of its automotive lifecycle. Timmy Ghiurau, lead of Virtual Experiences and XR Research, and Anna Hellmark, head of Volvo’s Human-Centric Lab, share how Unity is changing the status quo in their industry.

Bring the power of real-time 3D into your business

Read on to get insight into these questions:

  • Who are the primary users of Unity in industry?
  • How can you bring 3D data, including CAD, into Unity?
  • What can you visualize and create with Unity?
  • How can you share content made with Unity? 

Looking to learn more about real-time 3D technology first? Visit this page.

Who can use Unity?

Today, the primary creators of real-time 3D content in the industrial sector have technical backgrounds, such as software engineers and AR/VR developers. This is because the vast majority of enterprise applications built on this technology require custom development and programming expertise (Unity uses C#).

The pool of users is expanding, however, as Unity and other companies make real-time 3D accessible to nonprogrammers, in turn making it easier to scale custom development. 

Here are some of the ways that barriers to Unity are being lowered for nonprogrammers:

  • Visual scripting: Visual, node-based interfaces like Bolt enable nontechnical users to create logic for applications without writing code.
  • Product innovation: Unity’s end-to-end solutions make real-time 3D accessible to non-coders, such as AEC professionals and marketers. There is also a growing selection of artist-friendly tools within Unity Industry to increase artistic productivity and creativity without programming knowledge.  
  • Out-of-the-box solutions: As demand for immersive, interactive experiences has increased, many independent software vendors have leveraged this technology to build solutions for specific use cases while removing the need for coding and scripting. Unity Verified Solution Partner WEAVR offers enterprise-scale immersive training programs, while Interact enables creation of physically realistic VR experiences.
  • Service delivery: Custom solutions can be created that accommodate nonprogrammers and fit the way they work, like this project created for Honda's automotive designers. For instance, the extensibility of platforms like Unity enables companies to tailor Unity’s user interface so that nontechnical users such as designers or marketers can harness the power of real-time 3D.
Antoine Pasquali, Chief Technology Officer

“We haven’t yet faced a challenge that we can’t meet using Unity and our expertise.”

Antoine Pasquali, Chief Technology Officer

Get 3D data ready for real-time development with Pixyz

A typical real-time 3D industrial workflow starts by ingesting existing content. Imported 3D geometry and metadata can come in many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) assemblies from applications such as Alias, CATIA, Creo, Inventor, and NX
  • Meshes from 3D modeling and visualization applications like 3ds Max, Blender, Maya, and VRED
  • Reality capture data of products or locations from point clouds, photogrammetry, and LiDAR scanning
  • Building information modeling (BIM) data from programs like Autodesk Revit and Navisworks
  • Materials from standardized formats like AxF and xTex

To achieve the best performance and visual quality when deploying to various platforms, real-time 3D content typically needs to be optimized. The optimization process ensures complex models become lightweight representations that are compatible with real-time development and can properly support interactivity on devices like phones and VR headsets. 

Purpose-built tools from Pixyz, a Unity partner, can import models and reduce their density, complexity, and file size, while preserving quality. Pixyz Plugin supports nearly 40 3D file formats and is included in Unity Industrial Collection.

X.R., CGI Team Leader

“3D visualization of aircraft interior design is a real challenge as CAD data evolve continuously. Pixyz helps us win this challenge thanks to its optimized tessellation and optimization tools for CGI and real-time applications. It’s fast, light, efficient, and mostly, it is flexible and can be customized to our process. We also appreciate the Pixyz team, who is very reactive to develop new features to respond to our needs.”

X.R., CGI Team Leader

Create interactive 3D content with Unity Pro

Once assets are ready for real-time 3D, development can begin in Unity Pro. Users can accelerate scene creation with 3D models, objects, environments (i.e., the virtual world), and more from Unity’s Asset Store

Unity lets users iterate rapidly and adjust components like animation, audio and video, cinematics, environments, lighting, user interfaces, visual effects, and more. At any point in development, users enjoy real-time previews of their work – visualization is instant, so there’s no waiting around for the results to render.

The possibilities with Unity run the gamut. BMW uses Unity to visualize and simulate autonomous driving scenarios, Daimler creates mixed reality experiences to improve vehicle production and train service technicians, and Autoliv creates mobile apps that help its global salesforce better showcase its products, to name a few. 

For complex enterprise applications, Unity also provides the flexibility to do more with:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI): Unity offers a rich set of machine learning (ML) tools and the ability to integrate with multiple AI and ML frameworks, which is especially helpful for using simulated environments to train and validate intelligent systems. Check out how one company uses Unity to train, test, and deploy AI solutions for robotic applications.
  • Systems engineering: Prespective, another Unity Verified Solution Partner application, provides a powerful systems engineering framework to connect Unity with external control systems, such as programmable logic controllers or software emulations of control systems, and external math models, such as a functional mock-up unit (FMU) or MATLAB.
  • Enterprise integrations: Unity’s powerful application programming interface (API), built-in networking capabilities and integrations to third-party network stacks provide a robust and reliable way to extend applications to support remote collaboration, integration with Internet of Things (IoT) systems, or almost any networked application you can imagine.
Sano Hideki, Automobile Design Division

“We believe Unity gives us the best visualization tool that can be extended and adapted to our needs in the future.”

Sano Hideki, Automobile Design Division

Sharing experiences made with Unity

Once development is complete, you can share your Unity project with your intended audience. Consumers of real-time 3D technology can be internal stakeholders, such as a frontline worker receiving maintenance instructions from a mixed reality headset, or external audiences, such as the millions of people visiting your website to interact with your real-time 3D configurator. 

A major advantage of Unity is that you only have to build your content once and deploy it across more than 20 supported platforms, including iOS, Android, Oculus, Magic Leap, Microsoft HoloLens, and Windows. 

Unity offers a rich set of interaction models so that people can interact in real-time with “live” applications (known as a runtime application) on a mobile device, through a web browser, using AR, in a fully immersed VR experience, and more. Made with Unity experiences can also be embedded into existing properties, such as a mobile app or e-commerce page. 

Unity can help power individual experiences, such as an industrial design team lead reviewing the latest prototype, or shared experiences, such as a networked engineering review session in VR that brings together multiple participants into a single collaborative environment.

David Castaneda, Cofounder, Visionaries 777

“We chose Unity as our go-to platform because it allows us to develop something for a particular department, then deploy it in different kinds of hardware that can be reused by other departments at the same time. On other platforms, we would have to redevelop the solution for each device or hardware platform. With Unity it is a seamless deployment to over 20 platforms, which is a huge advantage for our customers.”

David Castaneda, Cofounder, Visionaries 777

Build the future with Unity Industry

Build immersive experiences that differentiate your business with professional real-time 3D creation tools for desktop, web, mobile, AR, and VR – backed by enterprise-level support – to ensure on-time results.

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