Making best use of augmented reality, Volkswagen will be developing the car of the future. Frank Ostermann, who heads the Virtual Engineering Lab (one of six labs now operated by Volkswagen Group IT in Wolfsburg, Berlin, Munich and San Francisco) has virtually created the car of the future. He inspects a 1:4 scale model of a Golf and then changes its wheels, replaces the rear lights and modifies the wing mirrors. Ostermann uses voice commands and gestures to change the design in a matter of seconds.
The required software was developed in the Virtual Engineering Lab and the team's results could revolutionize the work of engineers and designers. The ‘HoloLens’ mixed-reality goggles, a mobile computer developed by Microsoft projects virtual content onto a physical object through gesture control and voice commands. Ostermann only needs to point his finger and the HoloLens projects a different paint color onto the Golf, installs different wheels and modifies the fenders. The Golf is an R-Line model, but post modifications it will become an entirely new version which might appear at the dealership in six months' time.
The labs are used by specialists from Volkswagen to work on the digital future together with research institutions and technology partnerships. Moreover, new solutions in the fields of big data, Industry 4.0, the Internet of things, connectivity, mobility services and virtual reality are being created in close cooperation. Speaking about it, Ostermann said, “At Volkswagen, we have been using augmented reality and virtual reality for some time, mainly to obtain a three-dimensional view. We are now taking a major step forward at the Virtual Engineering Lab. We are transforming this technology into a tool for Technical Development. This will allow Volkswagen engineers to work on a virtual vehicle, to change its equipment as they wish and even to design new components virtually. They will be able to see the results of their work immediately."