The Pulse: exploring virtual cars and the impact of digital IP

The automotive industry has seen a lot of transformation in its time, and now it’s entering a new shift—the move to digital assets and IP for designing, building, testing, and selling cars.

And that digital shift is happening right now. In addition to the increasing focus on electric and autonomous vehicles, a car’s digital IP is becoming more and more important. Digital assets make it possible to create car configurators and virtual showrooms, and to set up virtual product 
launches in films and video games.

The latest episode of The Pulse, Virtual Cars and the Impact of Digital IP, explores how this digital shift is affecting the auto industry. If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the replay below.

In this episode of The Pulse, Rory Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of Jalopnik, meets with Burak Soehmelioglu from BMW Group, Davide Ferrari from Ferrari, and Doug Wolff from Epic Games to discuss the current innovations in the automotive industry, and what we can expect to see as we shift into the future.

BMW Group and Ferrari are among the automakers that have been at the forefront of this shift.  While configurators are often automakers' entry point to virtual cars, real-time game technology offers so much more to the industry.
Image courtesy of © BMW AG
The panel discusses how utilizing Unreal Engine to collaborate in VR has opened up the automotive design process to non-technical stakeholders. Unreal Engine’s game-design functionality makes it possible to give representatives of a variety of disciplines, from UX to factory architects and even customers and gamers, the opportunity to contribute.

They also discuss the great advances in visual fidelity that have fueled the shift to digital IP. When a real-time rendering of a car is indistinguishable from the real thing, automakers can show a yet-to-be-built car and gather feedback before committing engineering time. A virtual car can even be put in a racing game to see how players customize their vehicles, giving fast, real-world input on what customers prefer. 
Image courtesy of © Ferrari S.p.A.
Perhaps one of the most exciting possibilities that game technology offers to the auto industry is the ability to develop solutions for human machine interface (HMI) design. While innovators have embraced Unreal Engine for these uses and more, the digital shift continues in ways we’d never dreamed of, and we can’t wait to see what it has in store for us in the future. 

If you’re inspired by this episode, check out our Automotive & Transportation hub, and sign up for our next Build event for automotive.

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