From Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover to electric supercar-maker Rimac, the automotive industry is utilizing the enterprise metaverse to revolutionize its workplace, reduce waste, and save big on costs in the process.
Take BMW: The luxury automotive label has already validated the production series of cars in its factory in Hungary, two years before the €1 billion ($787 million), 400 hectare BMW Group Plant Debrecen is physically ready and set in motion.
It’s the first time BMW has fully validated a factory in the metaverse. Despite not yet boasting a physical presence, it’s already producing cars, albeit virtually.
A validation process that usually takes months of trial and error in the physical world, was fully orchestrated and completed virtually through the factory’s digital twin, created in a 3D industrial metaverse.
BMW is using Nvidia’s Omniverse, a Web3 platform based on the Universal Scene Description (USD) framework to create a digital twin of its factory, and everything within it. The manufacturer has used digital twins in small-case scenarios, such as robot simulations, before. But its virtual planning lacked a singular, cohesive solution that was capable of creating a real-time, synchronous digital twin of the entire factory, while visualizing information from different data sources on a single platform.
With Nvidia Omniverse, BMW’s digital factory can simulate everything, including safety protocols that involve human simulations to see how workers would visually inspect factory parts in the real world. As a result, when the factory is eventually laid out physically, the floor setup can be optimized accordingly.
“This brings us very close to a zero-loss launch because the amount of rework to the production system can be reduced to nearly zero”, Janne Strauß-Ehrl, Omniverse Project Leader at BMW says.
The industrial metaverse works for both new and existing factories, where the latest hardware may need to be implemented into existing structures. In such cases, data planning outside of the Omniverse alone is insufficient to achieve accuracy.
“With point clouds from 3D scans of the facility, we can detect errors in the planning data for pillars or ceilings in the real world that are not exactly at the position as the drawing would suggest. In surroundings where space is limited, a few centimetres can be decisive if a machine can be fitted or not,” explains Strauß-Ehrl.
“[The] metaverse is not necessarily about headsets and floating avatars. With the industrial metaverse, companies, as well as designers, can work in 3D in much the same way they do in 2D today.”
Rimac, the Croatian automaker of the $2 million all-electric hypercar Nevera, which is reportedly faster than the Bugatti Chiron, is using enterprise metaverse to rejuvenate its customer experience by offering a real-time 3D car configurator.
Although virtual customization and simulations are not new technology in the auto world, Omniverse takes representational visualization to the next level. It’s able to communicate the real-time customized configuration directly with the engineering software at the factory.
This is something that hasn’t been achieved before, according to Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse developer ecosystem at Nvidia.
“You get to see a true-to-reality representation of the car that you’re going to buy, configured exactly how you like it,” he says.
As the 3D metaverse becomes a vital tool of communication for internal processes and planning, questions arise as to whether workers will be required to wear clunky VR or 3D headsets to navigate the platform’s 3D functionality.
Kerris doesn’t believe this to be the case. “[The] metaverse is not necessarily about headsets and floating avatars,” he says. ”With the industrial metaverse, companies, as well as designers, can work in 3D in much the same way they do in 2D today, by using a mouse to drag around 3D elements within a 2D screen.”
Coty’s internal metaverse
Another luxury brand adopting the metaverse as an enterprise solution is Coty, one of the world’s largest beauty and fragrance companies. It’s creating an internal metaverse for its 11,000 global employees to upskill them with Web3 and scalable gamified experiences.
“People are already playing games and interacting in 3D spaces on their phones without necessarily using headsets. We are using similar engines such as the Unity Gaming Engine in the Coty Campus,” says Gianna Valintina, Global Director of Partnerships for Spatial, a 3D social and co-experience platform powering Coty’s metaverse initiative.
Set to launch this fall, Coty Campus will be used by employees to co-create and collaborate on prototype stores and products more robustly, and create interactive metaverse experiences that can be unlocked by consumers. Like Nvidia’s enterprise solution, Spatial’s 3D metaverse too can be accessed on mobile phones and 2D screens.
Web3 solutions are becoming less cumbersome to adopt as they fill technology gaps in the enterprise world. As more industries experience and understand the advantages of Web3, it remains to be seen how they deploy the tech at the customer-experience level as well.