CAVE men In the CAVE, the lead engineer can turn his head and he is able to look around the interior of the XF, as if he was in the real thing. He can also reach out and touch the steering wheel and interact with any of the car's switches. To enable this level of control, the CAVE has a sophisticated motion-tracking system embedded into the corners of the screens. This technology allows the engineer's head and hands to be tracked in 6DOF ( degrees of freedom) ensuring that wherever he looks, the imagery is geometrically correct and he can interact with the vehicle in a natural way. With a hand- interaction device, engineers can also select processes to test, investigate and manipulate the virtual vehicle. One such process is a cross- section tool - as the engineer moves the device across the car, it cuts away at the surfaces and in doing so all vehicle components are revealed in a perfect cross- sectional ' cut'. By activating ' collision detection' the engineer can select components within the vehicle, such as the starter motor, and perform a virtual removal procedure. The collision detection ensures that the motor cannot move through a space that, in the real world, it wouldn't fit. This feature is particularly useful to service engineers as they can assess any maintenance job before a car is completed. Other processes include how components such as brake pipe routings and materials can be assessed with the properties of a specific supplier's material loaded into the system. VR technology is allowing engineers to evaluate all stages of the design process rapidly and effectively, cutting down on very expensive prototype ' bucks' and allowing changes to be made and re- assessed quickly. Preparation and setup HoloVis International worked for 18 months with JLR prior to the start of the project to assess the latest technology and test various solutions at its extensive manufacturing and design facility in the UK's Midlands. The final structure for the CAVE is one of the largest in the world for this type of operation. Due to the requirement for a seamless ceiling rear- projection surface, as well as the
three side walls, a specialist aluminium framework had to be designed to house a total of eight Sony 4K- resolution projectors - at the time the world's highest resolution projector. Six projectors were positioned at ground level to run the three side walls, while two others were fixed above to run the ceiling projection surface. HoloVis not only designs and builds these advanced solutions; it has its own 4- Wall CAVE system ( with a rear-projection floor!) and a full- scale rear- projection 4K ApolloWall at its UK headquarters. These systems serve three key purposes: to demonstrate the technology and show the capability of HoloVis; to allow key software partners such as Autodesk to test and develop software packages on high-end systems; and as a hireable secure facility for clients that cannot afford such capital intensive technology. HoloVis also has portable versions of its systems that it regularly takes all over Europe to events and to clients' sites for personal demonstrations and project hire. As a key part of the design and verification phase of the project, HoloVis used its own VR systems to show virtual representations of what the CAVE would look like and virtually ' walked' the client through the facility long before anything was physically built on the Gaydon, UK site. " Since the JLR CAVE went operational in May last year, the facility has become a mission-critical tool, essential to the on-going development of JLR's future engineering solutions," says Stuart Hetherington, managing director at HoloVis. " It is now making measurable cost savings against physical prototyping and testing that would have been required at JLR before the system was available. " As someone that used to work in automotive physical and destructive testing, I appreciate the vast costs and time associated in physical mock- ups and testing," continues Hetherington. " It is fantastic to see how our technology is now essential and at the core of the vehicle design and testing process, our turn- key systems are helping clients make substantial savings, something that is vitally important in the current economic climate and with the challenges that are facing the automotive industry." more information? click here!