Autoliv: A Unity case study
Autoliv, the world's largest automotive safety supplier, is committed to developing the most innovative and reliable products that save lives. As the technology behind its products (airbags, steering wheels, seat belts, and more) have continued to evolve, so has this Fortune 500 company’s desire to modernize its sales and marketing strategy to better showcase its complex products.
Leveraging real-time 3D technology, this leading Tier 1 automotive OEM supplier has delivered a modern product visualization experience that has become a beloved asset for its global salesforce, as well as other departments, and is leveraged by hundreds of employees across its business.
Develop an intuitive, interactive way to engage people and improve product visualization
Autoliv: 65,000 employees globally
A cutting-edge solution to sales and marketing challenges
Since Autoliv’s products are best showcased within their contextual environment – that is, in an automobile – demonstrating the various product types and their complexities presents challenges. While Autoliv relies on physical product demonstrations at tradeshows, transporting those same models to individual sales meetings or roadshows is expensive and infeasible; relying on PowerPoint demonstrations, however, is inadequate.
Autoliv teamed up with Cybercom, an innovative IT solutions company providing sustainable solutions to enhance its clients’ competitiveness, to leverage Unity in developing a robust yet easy-to-use iOS application – Explore 3D. Autoliv’s app provides its global sales and marketing teams a state-of-the-art way to demonstrate – and, in turn, accelerate – understanding around its life-saving products.
- Improved customer engagement and comprehension of Autoliv’s product suite
- An easy-to-demonstrate tool for Autoliv’s global salesforce that signals tech-savviness to potential buyers
- Deeper learning capabilities for plant operators
The Explore 3D app provides an immersive way to explore more than a dozen of Autoliv’s automotive safety products.
The products are displayed within a model vehicle. Users can hide parts of the vehicle to get a better view of Autoliv’s offerings, as well as tap on hot spots to learn more about specific products.
An “X-Ray” option makes it easy to see Autoliv’s products throughout the vehicle.
Users can explore each product and learn more about its location, features, and benefits.
In the ”Models” section, users can isolate individual products.
Users can see the airbags deployed using the “Inflated” view.
Users can see any product’s components using the “Exploded” view.
In the “Features” section, users can see virtual demonstrations of specific safety products.
In the "Media" section, users can access photography and videos of each product.
Creating emotional stickiness
“We wanted to create a new type of ‘emotional stickiness’ that helps anyone exploring our products to improve their understanding and real-time decision making,” says Christoffer Malm, Director of Digital Business & Mobility at Autoliv.
With the help of Cybercom – whose role in the partnership was to guide Autoliv in their product visualization experience, digitalize and modernize it for easy to-use in sales and marketing activities – the Explore 3D application was born.
Explore 3D provides interactive visualization of upwards of 15 Autoliv products in a real-time, three-dimensional view. While Explore doesn’t completely replace the need for the physical touch and feel of certain products—say a steering wheel in your hand or how a seatbelt reacts—it greatly enhances a remote experience, adding to the customers’ level of engagement and understanding around the products.
The iPad-based application encourages customers to explore the products on their own, whether at a plant lobby or tradeshow booth. They can easily visualize where inside the car components are located and why they are mission-critical to vehicle safety. Plus, sales reps can readily transport iPads to small roadshows, onsite client meetings, and other scenarios where it may be difficult or cost prohibitive to showcase physical products.
Following on the success of Explore with sales and marketing, an additional use case emerged in the manufacturing side of the business, prompting plant operators to leverage the technology to gain a deeper understanding of how the parts they produce are used within the car.
Transforming the creative pipeline with Unity
In developing the Explore application in partnership with Autoliv’s in-house Unity developers, Cybercom leveraged Pixyz to quickly bring Autoliv’s product computer-aided design (CAD) data into Unity, reducing the transfer and optimization time from four days per individual product down to just six hours.
Unity’s flexibility and customizability as a development platform enabled Cybercom and Autoliv to build a versatile, robust application. From X-ray and cross-section views for greater visibility of products within the vehicle, to an “exploding” feature allowing closer examination of specific product components, and even an orbit camera with a 360-degree view inside the car, these new interactive concepts were quickly implemented with Unity.
Additionally, Unity helped Cybercom’s developers and artists to collaborate remotely while creating an intuitive user interface for the application. “The capabilities of the Unity engine, combined with the different assets we used from Unity Asset Store, transformed the creative pipeline completely,” says Ahmed Assal, XR Advisor at Cybercom. “With Unity, we can make things look photorealistic, with a high degree of detail. Plus, Unity really helped us to experiment, iterate quickly, and execute new ideas quickly.”
Driving toward a more virtual future
Autoliv is currently exploring additional implementations of Unity across its product lifecycle as part of its greater AR/VR goals, including pilot projects for setting up crash testing, optimizing and adjusting production lines, and laying out factory floor plans.
“Now that we have Explore, we’re starting to put it in the reception areas for every plant, and cascade it out to the organization at a global level,” says Malm. “We’ve also already seen increased interest from our customers to see our products in this interactive way.”
Looking farther ahead, Autoliv is reviewing what it would mean to introduce Explore as a VR experience, providing an even more immersive way to experience its products in a digital world.
“Thanks to Unity, you can easily detect the engineering beauty behind our products. You see all the detail that goes into the product and how it’s fitted into the rest of the car. This technology really heightens the excitement as well as the understanding around our offerings.”
“The capabilities of the Unity engine, combined with the different assets we used from Unity Asset Store, transformed the creative pipeline completely. With Unity, we can make things look photorealistic, with a high degree of detail. Plus, Unity really helped us to experiment, iterate quickly, and execute new ideas quickly.”
“We wanted to create a new type of ‘emotional stickiness’ that helps anyone exploring our products to improve their understanding and real-time decision making.”
“With Unity we have the flexibility to go as low or high level as we want. It allows us to go deep to customize what we need, but at the same time have the high-level capability to create, experiment, and do so much in a very short amount of time.”