11.11.2016

Here’s How Epic is Working Hard to Develop the Ultimate Automotive Pipeline Solution

By Doug Wolff

Sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what people are saying.
 
However, it is the exact opposite when it comes to automotive companies and Unreal Engine 4. Everyone asks the same specific question: How do I get my existing data quickly and easily into Unreal Engine?
 
This isn’t a new hurdle. Creating customer-facing CG models, derived from CAD and design data, has been a long-standing challenge for the automotive industry. But we are now reaching a critical mass of factors that will allow us to reinvent pipelines and solutions around our platform. Whereas CG for film and print used to be the endpoint, that has now been expanded to include VR, point of sale and other applications. Game technologies are needed to deliver on these solutions so pipelines need to be built around them.

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Consumer and design VR isn’t new to the automotive industry. Companies such as Audi and BMW are already leading the way in this space. However, it’s common for the game engine to be ‘tacked on’ at the end of the pipeline, producing an encounter with a set of sub-optimal decisions that have been made further up the chain.

But a revolution is underway, one where Unreal Engine moves from the end of the pipe to a parallel track through a vehicle programme’s development.
 
Companies like McLaren Automotive have already started this process. They are unlocking VR, real-time and game technology for every step of their internal pipeline.
 
At the design stage Unreal Engine powers design reviews, and concept sign-off can happen in photorealistic, 90fps VR. In engineering, they can leverage Unreal Engine for realistic visuals of simulation and validation. And in their consumer-facing marketing, game technology can power the in-dealer experience as well as next-generation web and mobile applications.
 
Building a revolutionary pipeline cannot happen in isolation. It is only through open collaboration that the industry can move forward. To this end, a group of forward-looking automotive OEMs including Audi, Bentley, BMW, McLaren, Seat and Tesla came together at a recent summit we held in Munich to discuss the first steps of putting this change in place.

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Connected with industry-leading partners, including NVIDIA, we discussed how to incorporate this new paradigm across their businesses.
 
The result was a productive and open collaboration, where everyone pushed for the good of the industry. Challenges were issued, questions were raised, and ideas were debated. On a grey day in Munich, opposite a leafy courtyard, an automotive pipeline revolution was initiated.
 
There is still much work to do but Unreal Engine and its partners are committed to solving the identified problems. Demonstrations and prototypes are underway, and we cannot wait to reveal how this all-new pipeline will propel the automotive industry forward.

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