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.
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: New products such as Unity Reflect for AEC professionals and Unity Forma for marketers make real-time 3D accessible to non-coders. There is also a growing selection of artist-friendly tools within programs like Unity 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.
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.
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.