Virtual Reality – Changing How Cars Are Made
The automotive industry has been adopting new ways to work for a while now, since virtual reality and augmented reality started to expand how real-world businesses could function. There has been a strong adoption of these technologies in many other sectors. In the automotive industry, virtualized realities are becoming key functions in work processes, from mapping out car ideas to the production of finished vehicles. Showrooms have adopted virtual reality as a sales tool which allows salespeople to show off any car of the brand, without needing to have them in stock at the time. What’s more, virtual reality can also demonstrate the different trim levels and upgrades available across the brand, which is of great assistance to upselling. Virtual reality and augmented reality are being looked at and developed for use inside vehicles, and this is expected to expand as 5G makes truly autonomous vehicles possible. From heads-up displays for the driver, night vision, or virtual reality activities for passengers, the uses being discovered are expanding. It is expected that in the future, many will be able to enjoy virtual environments and games as they travel, or even work on virtualized devices. These uses of virtual reality are promoted quite heavily, but one area often overlooked is the research and development stage. Products have been modeled and designed in applications for a long time now, normally presenting 3D models on 2D screens. Now, however, virtual reality is adding a new dynamic to the development process and also opening up the possibility of totally new design concepts for car interiors. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-80.jpeg] HOW CAN VIRTUAL REALITY ASSIST DESIGN? Research and design are complicated and expensive processes, especially where cars are concerned. Manufacturers often spend years refining a single-vehicle. CAD has been a major player in the industry for a long time but is now transitioning towards integrated virtual reality CAD designs. The benefit of virtual reality is that it can provide lifelike, lifesize, and interactive designs. While modeling on a computer screen is quite effective, being able to see designs to scale, use x-ray vision, and even test them against realistic real-world simulations adds new dynamics to the design process. The fact that the environment is virtual also helps to increase design collaboration. It doesn’t matter where experts or investors are located, they can join a virtual room to view and collaborate on designs. With all of the company’s experts and invested parties able to easily be a part of the ongoing development of a design, it allows for continuous progressive development and feedback. This is more favorable to creating “complete” designs and then presenting them only to find that major adjustments are needed. Instead, any element of the vehicle can easily be viewed and reviewed remotely at any stage. With a virtual model, there is also a more complete feel to the design. Being able to see it to size, move around it, interact with elements and more can help to check the design and functionality better. This can help with everything from aesthetics to finding issues and faults. The virtual reality environment allows not only for design but also for interactive testing of the designs, allowing designers to see if the things work and if they could be viable. According to seat-mediacenter.com: “This technology succeeds in reducing production time of the prototypes by 30%”. Virtual reality has reached the point where a virtual vehicle could be test driven in a virtual world and how it would respond is almost exactly how it would respond when driven in the real world. This effective reviewing of designs helps to speed up every step, from design through to production, and later virtual reality even helps with online and real-world sales. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-81.jpeg] HOW THE USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY COULD AFFECT DESIGN FEATURES We mentioned earlier that virtual reality and augmented or mixed reality could become a big feature of the automobile traveling experience in the future. This, in itself, is likely to affect how cars are designed. While automation is surely going to change the operation and layout of vehicles, virtual elements could also, in theory, replace current real-world objects. This could, to some degree, even work with manually operated vehicles or remote drivers, allowing for virtual elements to control aspects of the vehicle. In this sense, we are talking about the possibility of removing a lot of the real-world “interactive parts” from cars, and instead, replacing them with virtual objects. This could either greatly simplify interior designs, swaying more towards space and comfort, or allow for totally different approaches to interior vehicle design. Elements in the car could also be hidden or interactive by using touch, light, or motion sensors and information systems within the vehicle that interlink with the virtual reality concepts. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-82.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY COULD CHANGE PROTOTYPES Coming up with nice and intuitive designs is one thing, but developing a working prototype is a whole different level. Each development will go through numerous levels of design, discussion, fixes, redesigning, and testing. If any mistakes are made during this process, the costs can be extremely high. The smallest design fault can lead to halted production or even a total recall of all vehicles sold. This kind of error has further-reaching costs as well, as a brand’s image and consumer trust can be negatively impacted. Even detecting issues early in the process can cause considerable expense and delays, especially where key components are concerned or being produced for a real-world prototype. This is why it is so important that designers can both effectively design but also collaborate with experts and test design ideas at each step. Virtual reality is a major asset in every part of this process. It allows developers to visualize the vehicle in a life-sized and interactive environment. Seeing designs at scale can greatly help with detecting issues or flaws that could impact usability, function, or development. Being able to operate or use the designs as they are intended for the real-world only adds more insight to this testing phase. It also allows experts from any area of the company, or even remote consultants, to collaborate on any part of the design or even the final concept. How parts function or even how an entire engine should perform can be tested. What’s more, numerous situations such as weather, sea level, different surfaces, and more can be simulated to see how things work. The simplest of mechanisms can be tested, observed, and refined. As the vehicle can be actively interacted with, layout and accessibility issues also become clearer when observed on a functional lifesize model. If issues are found, depending on the advancement of the virtual reality system, it could even be possible to make real-time corrections or switch in already existing alternative designs. TESTING AND DRIVING THE FINAL VERSION Whereas before virtual reality any level of real testing required a prototype to be constructed and thoroughly tested, with virtual reality the testing phase can begin before any real-world construction. Virtual prototyping is now a reality, using a combination of interactive virtual reality and powerful computing to generate realistic and detailed prototypes, as well as ‘real world’ scenarios to place them in. The days of needing numerous clay models and prototypes are mostly gone. While they may still have some uses, the new virtual models use ‘materials’ that have all the properties of their real-world counterparts. Designers and engineers can check everything from styling to aerodynamics. Automotive manufactures are already using virtual reality design, as well as using it in other parts of the production process. As stated by thedrive.com “It would no longer be necessary to produce multiple physical models of various items to piece together and potentially reject due to fitment or design conflicts.” This is a huge step, as the research and design stages are both reduced and become more streamlined with the introduction of virtual design and testing. It also isn’t only the outside or mechanics of the car that can be tested in a virtual space. With advanced virtual environments, it is possible to test what it is like to be in the car and traveling on a journey. This can also be linked to ‘real-world’ effects, such as a mockup of the driver’s area, wind, engine vibrations, etc. Some of these systems allow for live adjustments so that designers can test different styles of items, or even quickly sketch out a new idea from within the simulation. Many showrooms today are already providing customers with virtual tours of cars, including virtual test drives. While this technology has been around for a while now, new business uses and improvements are constantly being conceived and implemented. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-83.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS IMPROVING THE PRODUCTION STAGE Staff can now be trained in virtual environments before being set to work in the real world. This allows them to learn, practice, fail, and practice some more in a virtual and safe environment. The training can be created by the design staff and engineers that are specialists in prototype design. Each aspect can also later be adjusted, should any further errors occur. By allowing training from the experts on a particular vehicle design to be used to educate production staff in any area of the company, issues are often avoided. As an added benefit, the virtual environment doesn’t require resources or machinery, which reduces costs and allows the production line to continue functioning at full speed during training. Experienced staff members are also not required to undertake training or to take time out to monitor new trainees, helping to increase productivity overall. When the trainee is eventually ready to start work on the real-world production process, they can still be guided by augmented reality or mixed reality as they work. These headsets can overlay information on the real world, highlight issues, catch malformations, and much more. Even notifications and warnings can be sent remotely to these virtual devices. TO SUM UP The automotive sector has been quick to adopt virtual technologies. They have been using them for years, and have found intuitive and inventive ways of incorporating virtual worlds into real workflows. When it comes to prototyping, there are significant advantages to this technology. However, virtual reality has impacted many aspects of automotive production and will likely continue to be adopted further. To date, some of the impacts of using virtual reality and mixed reality in the automotive industry include: * Increased safety for trainees and employees * Increased productivity * Less downtime * Reduced costs across various areas * Improved collaboration without travel * Faster and more cost-effective prototypes * Consumer engagement There are likely many other benefits, but it isn’t hard to see why more and more businesses, particularly in industry, are adopting these virtual approaches to design, testing, training, working, and much more.
Trends to Watch in Augmented and Virtual Reality
Last year saw considerable growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality sectors. This, however, was before COVID-19 swept the world. With many stuck at home, attention has increasingly turned towards home entertainment and remote working approaches. In 2020, Apple has also shown more development interests, recently purchasing NextVR as well as registering numerous patents for VR and AR focused technology. While entertainment is a strong focus, VR and AR are also expanding into numerous other sectors. Some interesting trends include sectors such as the marketing, education, consulting, and medical sectors. Here we look at some of the most interesting and potentially life-changing trends of VR and AR, including where things are likely to head next. TOP VR TRENDS OF 2020 VR has been around the longest of these two sectors and has already proved quite popular with the gaming sector. However, the use of VR has expanded far beyond simply being an entertainment technology. EDUCATION VR is almost a perfect for offering education, especially for places or systems where access is not easy or not possible. In this sense, enhancing education with VR technology can help students to gain a deeper understanding of the way things work. This can be anything from the internal workings of the human body, to what makes up a star. With VR, the student can see live representations, see multiple layers, and interact with the environment. In Myanmar, UNESCO reported, “more than 5,000 of the country’s 500,000 teachers have had a chance to become acquainted with the technology”. In this case, VR is being used in normal classroom scenarios in an affordable way that brings the subject to life. THEAPPSOLUTIONS also predicts that “Education is expected to be the 4th biggest sector for VR investments”. It is also perfect for training staff, particularly when dealing with potentially hazardous or dangerous situations. The need for learning the ‘theory’ and then applying it in a real-world situation is removed. Instead, students can learn the theory and then practice in a VR world. Whether a soldier or a chemical waste disposal expert, being able to practice in a VR situation is a great opportunity for ‘almost’ real experience. COVID-19 has added extra fire to the idea of distance learning, new and intuitive approaches to VR learning are coming out for ‘normal’ education. This can allow students to study partly or fully from home, but also gain socialization and even experience group learning in VR environments via educational platforms. WEIGHT AND FREEDOM When it comes to headsets, size and weight make a big difference to the experience. Devices need to include the technology to provide a ‘realistic’ and believable experience. However, they also need to be wearable for considerable periods and comfortable. The weight of devices has decreased, while also allowing for more power and other included technology such as stereo sound. The increased ‘onboard’ power has allowed for devices such as Facebook’s Oculus Quest to be self-contained. As tech progresses, the need to be connected to processing devices may reduce or even vanish. MERGING TECH As things progress, VR devices are also gaining some AR characteristics. This is achieved via video passthrough. The device can display both what is being ‘seen’ by its cameras, as well as what is created by the software. To make this possible, there have been significant advances with devices and the incorporation of a high-res display, motion tracking sensors, high-end cameras, and more. The result is a visual environment that includes the ‘real world’ view while being able to alter it in any way programmed. It gives a highly realistic and immersive experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-76.jpeg] ECOMMERCE How we shop, or more importantly where we shop is going to change. For many, shopping from home is not a new idea and so the idea of virtual shopping isn’t that much of a stretch. However, with VR and AR, that shopping experience can be taken to an experience and interactivity level not previously possible. Shopping experiences will change, such as car sales potentially being almost entirely online. Shoppers could potentially experience a vehicle in full 360-degree views, get the specs, and interact with aspects of the car. It might even be possible in the future to remotely test drive a car. AR is already allowing you to ‘see’ the car in your actual environment. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-77.jpeg] TOP AR TRENDS OF 2020 As a slightly newer technology, augmented reality is gaining momentum. It is predicted to dramatically exceed the market sector of virtual reality by 2025. AR is getting some interesting uses, both in the gaming world and the business sector. For many, Pokemon Go was one of the first experiences of AR. This technology merges and alters the real world view. This combination of the real world with augmented objects is what makes it so versatile. One of the useful features of AR is that it doesn’t necessarily need special hardware to use it. A mobile phone or tablet can be used to display the visual and audio aspects of AR. However, for a more subversive experience, specialist headsets can also be used. AI IS CHANGING THE WORLD AI has changed many aspects of our daily lives, almost without us noticing it. From phones that adapt to user preferences, to fully-featured personal assistants, AI is changing how we interact with the web and how we run our lives. In regards to VR and AR, AI is providing a level of interconnection and ‘understanding’ that previously wasn’t possible or wasn’t easy to achieve. An example of this is how AI apps can understand what they are seeing. This results in more accurate augmented experiences, such as that with camera filters and animations that perfectly apply to what is seen by the camera. Instagram and other fun camera apps are good examples of this technological merger. AI is not only applied to fun apps and games. AI is already changing how we travel in some areas, such as in airports that provide apps that integrate with numerous ‘data providers’ of the airport to provide everything from augmented navigation to the latest customer updates. A major example of this use is seen in Gatwick Airport, although over the next year it is expected that there will be more airports adopting similarly modern approaches. AI can help with navigation, flight information, contacting customers or staff, and even helps with immigration control, such as with facial recognition technology. AI and AR have the potential to change how businesses and customers interact, providing each with a customized experience, and smoothing the processes for all. As AI capabilities expand further, it is likely that what is possible to achieve with AR will also grow. HEALTHCARE, COMMERCE, AND INDUSTRY AND MORE These developing technologies are providing interesting solutions to healthcare and other industries. AR, for example, could help to guide and support doctors by overlaying information or even showing inside a patient. With remote technologies and data rates improving, remote consultations are possible. There are already designs and prototypes of healthcare pods, where the patient can get basic scans, tests, and even consult with a doctor from wherever the pod is deployed. However, the uses of VR and AR go far beyond consultations. Treatment of phobias can be performed in safe virtual environments, AI could combine with AR to assist with surgeries, and with the assistant of machines, it is expected that in a future that surgeries could even be performed entirely remotely. Who knows, maybe the surgeon could even be an AI. In regards to industry usage, similar applications are limitless. From remote controlling devices or robots to simulating dangerous environments for practice and training, how we do business is sure to evolve with these technologies. AR is also helping people to shop and enjoy the experience. Interactive AR features provide a ‘fun’ novelty to a normal shopping experience. A recent report showed that “Nearly 61% of customers chose shops that offer AR technology over normal shops”. MOBILE POWER One aspect that is increasing the use of AR apps and games is easier access to powerful mobile devices. Devices have become both more powerful and more affordable. While the top brands may ask around $1000 for their latest flagship model, there are lesser-known brands producing high-spec phones for a fraction of the price. This increased availability means that income isn’t so much of a divide and that most areas of the world are connected with mobile technology and web access. Increased specs also result in more enjoyable user experiences and allow for more sensors, camera lenses, graphic processing, and memory for AR apps and games. As mobile technology continues to develop, what is possible as far as VR and AR are likely to grow accordingly. BROWSER POWERED AR & VR EXPERIENCES While this has been around for a while, developments in supporting technologies are expanding what is possible with the ‘immersive web’. With this technology, there is no need for people to download specific experiences but instead can experience them almost live via supporting browsers and mobile devices. The type of experience can range dramatically, from full 360-degree videos to visualizations and graphics augmentations of the real world. It is everything from the real world recordings to a fully virtualized experience. AR development platforms are also helping to expand things further, providing developers with the tools that they need to create amazing content. Even Apple recently released access to their tool called ARKit, hinting at more to be coming from them soon. The benefit of entirely online web experiences is convenience and expanded audience. This is, even more, the case as compatible technology becomes more affordable and more powerful. As 5G enters the scene, what is capable via the internet is expected to expand considerably. THE POSSIBILITIES OF 5G 5G will allow faster and larger data transfer rates than were previously possible. This means more can be ‘instantly’ accessed from the cloud, as well as the possibility for almost instantaneous communication from anywhere connected. This connectivity changes how we can access data and what is achievable within the restraints of bandwidth. With rates as those announced by Telekom.com “A speed of three gigabits per second was measured. Under ideal conditions, the 5G speed should in future reach up to 10 Gbit/s, the equivalent of a 20-fold increase”, what we can do in the cloud is going to evolve significantly. For example, processing power could potentially be moved to large cloud-based centers, VR or AR content could be cloud-based without lags, and international connectivity could allow for self-driven autonomous vehicles or even remotely driven vehicles to become a reality. All of this could lead to the centralization of the processing aspects, significantly reducing the hardware requirements of devices (and therefore, their related costs should also reduce). [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-78.jpeg] THE FUTURE OF AR AND VR We expect this technology to continue growing. It could end up with devices supporting both technologies in some cases. AR is likely to expand beyond VR, as it has many more possible ‘real world’ applications, especially where the business uses and commerce are concerned. AR offers an enhanced experience of the real world we live in. As AI and IoT develop and merge with this technology, possibilities expand. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-79.jpeg] Education and training are also likely to adopt using VR/AR in many areas, from training military personnel, to homeschooling or bringing history to life. There is a potential for how we communicate and socialize evolve, as we have seen from mobile phone usages and expansion. As this technology shrinks and processing moves to the cloud, it is even feasible that AR and AI could be delivered through contact lenses or other compact devices.
The 5 Biggest Virtual and Augmented Reality Trends in 2020
The augmented reality and virtual reality markets have grown significantly over the years. In 2017, the market was valued at $9.1 billion. But in just three years, the value of the market has more than doubled to $18.8 billion. Most importantly, there are no signs that the market will slow down in the near future. As the market continues to grow, companies will most likely find new and exciting ways to use augmented and virtual reality technologies. How are companies using these technologies this year? Here are some of the biggest virtual and augmented reality trends of 2020: #1: MORE WIDESPREAD USE ACROSS INDUSTRIES Many people associate both virtual reality and augmented reality technologies with the gaming industry. It’s true that these technologies are widely embraced by companies in the gaming industry, however, this is far from the only industry that can benefit from the use of augmented and virtual reality. Experts have known this all along, and in 2020, companies from a wide range of industries have finally realized it, too. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t started to incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into its products or services. For example, companies in the automotive industry have relied on augmented and virtual reality technologies to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle from the comfort of their own home. These technologies are also being used to enhance the patient experience in the healthcare industry. Some mental health professionals rely on virtual reality technology to safely treat patients who suffer from severe anxiety or phobias. There are even augmented reality apps that help nurses find veins in a patient’s arm to make the process of inserting an IV easier. In manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality is making it easier than ever before to assemble new products. Workers no longer need to consult a manual or ask for help if they need help figuring out how to assemble a product. Instead, they can use an augmented reality headset to project the instructions onto their surrounding environment. This allows them to reference the written step-by-step instructions or watch a how-to video while they assemble the product. Thanks to this widespread use of both technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are no longer limited to the gaming world. #2: EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have been used to provide a number of new exciting educational opportunities throughout 2020. Virtual reality can be used to transport students to other real-world environments that they would have never been able to experience without this technology. For example, students who are learning about the solar system may be able to use virtual reality technology to take a virtual visit to outer space. This gives the students the opportunity to virtually experience the living conditions on other planets for themselves. There’s no doubt that students can learn more from this type of experience than they would by simply reading about the solar system in a textbook. This isn’t the only way that augmented and virtual reality technologies are disrupting the education industry. These technologies can also be used to enhance the experience of distance learning. Using augmented and virtual reality technologies to teach distance learners ensures that every student can learn in a collaborative environment regardless of whether or not they are physically present in the classroom. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are creating educational opportunities in the workplace, too. In the past, workers may have been required to sit through hours of training sessions in order to learn how to perform certain job duties. But now, there are other on-the-job training options available thanks to virtual and augmented reality technologies. For example, MAN CEON TechGuide is an app available through mobile devices and augmented reality headsets. Using augmented reality technology, this app gives engineers the opportunity to choose how they want to receive on-the-job training materials. Engineers who are visual learners can choose between 3D models, animations, and videos. But engineers that are auditory learners may prefer having the information read aloud to them through their mobile device or headset. By giving engineers these options, this augmented reality product has made it easier than ever before for these workers to receive on-the-job training. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-73.jpeg] #3: ENHANCED CONSUMER EXPERIENCES Many companies are using virtual and augmented reality technologies to enhance the consumer experience. These technologies are often used to create “virtual try-on” experiences for online shoppers. This has become increasingly popular in the cosmetics and beauty industry. For example, Garnier uses augmented reality technology to give consumers the opportunity to “try out” different hair colors before purchasing the company’s hair dye. L’Oreal Paris goes one step further by allowing its consumers to try out different hair colors in addition to shades of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, and other cosmetic products. This gives consumers the chance to use L’Oreal products to give themselves a virtual makeover from the comfort of their own home. Beauty brands aren’t the only companies that have started to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. This is also a major trend in the automotive industry. Several automotive manufacturers use these technologies to provide a “virtual showroom” experience to consumers. Using technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to tour and inspect vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership. As a result, consumers can gather the information they need on various vehicles to make purchase decisions without leaving home. Brands in the furniture and home goods industry have also embraced augmented and virtual reality technologies. Thanks to these technologies, consumers can see how specific furniture or décor pieces would look in their home. There’s no need to rely on their imagination to visualize how everything will look together—consumers can now see for themselves by projecting images of furniture or décor pieces onto their real world environment. These are some of the many ways that these technologies are being used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-74.jpeg] #4: BETTER HEADSETS In the past, the only way to experience virtual reality or augmented reality was to wear a bulky, restrictive headset. In addition, some of the earliest models needed to be plugged into a computer in order to work. These clunky, uncomfortable, and immobile headsets may have made virtual and augmented reality unappealing to consumers. But this shouldn’t be a problem for much longer since better virtual and augmented reality headsets are finally on the way in 2020. This year, augmented and virtual reality headsets are becoming smaller, more mobile, and far more powerful. For example, Facebook released a new Oculus virtual reality headset that no longer requires a connection to a PC. Because it no longer requires a PC connection, the new Oculus headset allows consumers to experience virtual reality wherever they go. There are also rumors that Apple will introduce augmented reality glasses in the near future. According to industry insiders, the Apple glasses will look just like optical glasses, which would make them one of the smallest and most mobile augmented reality products on the market. The emergence of better headsets could make augmented and virtual reality products more appealing to consumers around the world. As more consumers start to purchase these innovative headsets, the demand for new augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will also rise, which means the market for these technologies will continue to boom for years to come. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-75.jpeg] #5: NAVIGATIONAL TOOL Another trend that emerged in 2020 is the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies as navigational tools. The Google Maps app, for instance, uses augmented reality technology to provide walking directions to its consumers. How does it work? The app is designed to use your camera and location information to determine exactly where you are and what steps you need to take to get to your final destination. As you start walking, arrows, signs, and other digital elements will be imposed onto your environment as shown through your smartphone. For example, the app may impose an arrow next to a street that you are approaching to tell you that you need to turn on that street. Using augmented reality technology in this manner makes it easier for pedestrians to figure out how to get to where they need to go. Google isn’t the only company that is using augmented reality to provide directions to consumers. A number of automotive manufacturers, including Mercedes, Cadillac, and Hyundai, also use augmented reality technology to provide directions to drivers. For example, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is designed with an augmented reality navigation system. A live view of the street will be shown on the vehicle’s instrument panel, which makes it easy for the driver to see without taking their eyes off of the road. Using augmented reality, digital elements will be imposed on this live view of the street to provide drivers with navigational directions. This trend will most likely become increasingly popular in the years ahead. Experts believe that the next step will be using augmented reality to design apps that help consumers find their way around large venues. For example, augmented reality apps may help consumers find a specific store in a shopping mall or locate their departure gate in an airport. The opportunities are endless when it comes to using augmented and virtual reality technologies to create new or enhance existing navigational tools. These are some of the many ways that companies are using augmented and virtual reality technologies in 2020. It’s safe to assume that countless other augmented reality and virtual reality trends will emerge in the year ahead as a growing number of companies begin to use these technologies to attract new customers and stay competitive.
Nissan Rogue 2021 Production Starts in Tennessee, U.S.
The long-awaited Nissan Rogue 2021 is coming to America. Production has already kicked off at the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in Tennessee. This high-tech vehicle is being produced in an award-winning facility. While the factory itself is quite advanced, this production is being led with some of the most advanced technologies and approaches possible for automobile production lines. The Nissan Rogue contains a lot of technology itself, but this time its development process will be using cutting-edge virtual technology and assistive robots are going to be used in its development. NEW CHALLENGES FROM THE NEW NORMAL COVID19 has placed new requirements on many companies across all industries. This was no different for the Nissan factory, after months of not being able to work in the factory at all, returning to work recently presented new challenges to the way staff could operate. The staff didn’t stop working while the factory was shut either. Instead, they helped to make thousands of face masks to protect the local community, a tribute to the brand and its commitment. The factory was opened up slowly in stages, allowing for adjustments to be made and new measures introduced. COVID19 meant it was in for more things such as plexiglass barriers, social distancing areas, and of course the beloved masks. However, for the workers at the factory, masks and other safety gear such as goggles are often a normal part of working on the production line. Even areas for relaxation had to be changed drastically since the start of the pandemic. Social distancing is maintained, and barriers are used in areas where masks are removed for eating or drinking. In addition to all of this, there is the necessity to sterilize the factory. And so, frequently throughout the day (approximately every two hours) production needs to be halted and all tools and areas that are touched frequently need to be fully sterilized. Despite all of this, the staff is upbeat about the new production of the Nissan Rogue coming to their facility. WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE 2021 NISSAN ROGUE PRODUCTION? Over the years we have seen increased automation of production lines across many industries. With virtual reality, augmented reality, and 5G, the possibilities of both automation and human collaboration are increasing. Robots are even collaborating, and able to adjust to scenarios as required. David Johnson, vice president, Production Engineering and New Model Quality for Nissan North America stated “Not only have we improved the way we build the new Rogue, the team is using this new technology to build all the vehicles in our U.S. plants with better efficiency and quality for customers,” In this sense, two key aspects were mentioned in a recent press release: 1. Virtual Reality – While this has been used for a while for design and training purposes, this time the use was taken a step further. Virtual reality with realistic properties was used to not only design aspects of the new cars but to test them as well. Potential issues were refined and fixed before production even began. This was due to virtual collaboration and reviews as a part of the development. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-70.jpeg] 1. Cobots – This launch sees the largest number of collaborative robots used on the production line than on any other car created by Nissan. The robots are generally used to perform repetitive tasks to improve quality and safety. However, they also mean that existing staff are free to be reassigned to areas that require a more human touch. With these two areas combined, considerable amounts are saved in time and costs. By working out issues virtually, it saves wasted resources, delays, and possible vehicle issues down the line. The Cobots also help to increase safety, reduce chances of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries), and speed up production. This time, due to restrictions and the staggered return to production after COVID19, most of the training was also done remotely. HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS CHANGING AUTOMOBILE PRODUCTION LINES Virtual reality is steadily changing how we can experience digital objects and scenarios. In the automobile industry, there have been some great usage cases for these virtual approaches: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-71.jpeg] * Factory Planning – The perfect factory floor layout can be planned in virtual reality. Not only can it be planned, but it can also be tested and refined * Car Design & Testing – Cars are being both effectively designed and tested in a virtual environment. As things are to scale and interactions realistic, often faults can be found and fixed before production or real-world models begin * Reviewing & Collaboration – Although many issues are detected during virtual design, some issues can occur when in the production stage. When this happens, the best minds can instantly collaborate on the issues and resolve them quickly via virtual meetings or redesigning in a virtual space. * Assembly Training – The best minds of the project can create standardized training for existing and new employees. This helps onboard them faster and develop the skills needed for production. * Maintenance Training – Whether maintenance of vehicles or factory machinery, virtual reality is perfect for this. * Increased Safety – As people can train as much as they need virtually, it reduces the risk of untrained staff being on production lines. Virtual mistakes don’t cost the company and don’t injure staff. * Remote Assistance – If there is an emergency or a specific skill is needed, instead of calling a specialist in, they can often offer remote assistance via augmented or virtual reality devices. * Remote Workers – Once 5G is rolled out across all areas, the possibilities of ‘live’ remote actions open up. This means that a specialist could work remotely in a virtual environment, and a robot or machine on the other end performs their actions. It may not be cost-effective for some aspects, but for dangerous environments or specialist skill sets, it could be extremely useful. In some places, augmented reality is also being used to detect anomalies, track stock, and more. The possible uses are continuing to be discovered. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-72.jpeg] WHAT IS THE NEW 2021 NISSAN ROGUE GOING TO OFFER? The Rogue is not new to the market as such, but this next model is packed with some exciting features. It is one of the best sellers for Nissan and in fact, this Smyrna assembly plant is getting another five to produce. A testament to their abilities and quality product approaches. Of course, as a best seller, it goes without saying that the 2021 Rogue needed to exceed 2020 expectations. So, here we take a look at what the new Rogue will offer: Engine-wise, buyers can expect a decent drive from the 181-horsepower engine. It is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder design that is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This engine is more powerful than the last model and puts out 181 lb-ft of torque. There is also a choice between front-wheel or intelligent all-wheel drive. To keep buyers interested, the exterior has also had a redesign with some sleek features, focusing more on the family market by incorporating more in-car entertainment, safety -features, and comfort. Two-tone color options will also be available. According to NissanUSA, the car comes with 3 high-tech displays, a digital dashboard, and even a heads-up display that can project useful information onto the windshield, such as sat-nav directions. The Standard Safety Shield 360 is a major selling point of the vehicle. It is an advanced collection of driver’s assist and other safety features to both make driving a pleasure and the vehicle considerably safer. Safety Shield 360 includes: * Blind-spot warnings * Lane departure warnings * High beam assistance * Reversing automated braking * Rear alert for crossing traffic or pedestrians * Automated emergency braking that includes pedestrian detection NissanUSA also states that the intelligent all-wheel-drive system is advanced enough to tackle the trickiest of driving surfaces. It can adjust as required to allow safer driving on gravel, dirt, wet surfaces, and even snow and ice. The Nissan Rogue also comes with all of these included, even from the basic trim: * Keyless entry * Push-button startup * Hands-free and text messaging assistant * Apple CarPlay * Android Auto * Satellite radio * Heated front seats * Heated steering wheel * Heated mirrors * Automatic headlamps * Tire pressure monitoring (plus Easy Fill Tire Alert for correct pressures) * Two-tone exterior paint This is quite an inclusive range of technologies to be included at all trim levels. TO WRAP UP The Nissan Rogue is both full of the latest technology and also using the latest approaches in its development and production. Nissan is not the first company to take on virtual reality approaches in the automobile industry and is unlikely to be the last. Virtual reality, assistive robots, and modern work approaches via 5G is changing how we live and work.
Experts Predict Massive Growth In Augmented Reality In Automotive Industry
The automotive industry continues to change and evolve year after year. Now, innovations in augmented reality (AR) are being incorporated into the automotive industry. According to a recent study, the global augmented reality automotive market is projected to reach USD 9 Billion by 2025 due to the growth in technological advancements, growing connected vehicles, and growing consumer demand for more in-vehicle safety features. The global augmented reality automotive market’s consistent growth and demand is also dependent on the region, with North America dominating the market in 2019 and will likely continue to rise in the next five years alone. BENEFITS OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN AUTOMOTIVE Automotive companies’ investments in augmented reality can greatly benefit drivers in many ways such as: * Enhanced auto retail experience * Convenient shopping and buying research * Increased safety features * Advancements in self-driving automobiles Augmented reality can also benefit manufacturers by: * Easier design and prototype creation * Streamlining assembly process * Increased speed and safety for car repairs HOW WILL AUGMENTED REALITY AFFECT DRIVERS? Augmented reality will likely change the way that drivers shop for cars as well as enhance the driving experience. For the most part, it seems that augmented reality will actually make roads safer as the primary usage for AR in vehicles seems to focus on safety features. However, an increasing demand in self-driving cars will likely also drive the market in the future. CHANGES IN BUYING BECAUSE OF COVID-19, BUT LASTING CONSUMER PREFERENCES This projected increase could also be in part to changes in how consumers shop for automobiles. In general, online retail and spending has continued to increase year after year. Many online retailers are incorporating augmented reality into their online shopping experience. You can now find options for “virtual try-ons” on many online retail shops such as Warby Parker which uses such technology to allow customers to “try on” glasses before ordering them. Auto retail has also adopted online retail techniques but has not caught up to the complete augmented reality experience, until now. The impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ purchasing practices has forced the automotive market to completely rethink their selling techniques and consumer shopping experience, and this new experience in auto retail is likely to be a permanent shift. The global augmented reality automotive market’s boost can likely be attributed to the higher demand in online and at-home shopping experiences. With augmented reality and virtual reality, consumers can now “try on” a car from the comfort of their homes. Virtual showrooms are increasingly the way buyers prefer their car shopping experience. Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable before purchasing. Even if they are planning on viewing the vehicle in-person, many buyers prefer to research and view the car before going to a dealership. They can now view not just the exterior of a car but also the interior as if they are actually sitting inside the vehicle. They can even view color options and added features before purchasing and can view all these options without ever having to go to a dealership. This change in consumer shopping habits plays a big role in the increased demand in augmented reality and virtual reality availability. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-15.jpeg] FULFILL CONSUMER IN-VEHICLE SAFETY DEMANDS Along with a shift in how buyers choose to shop for a car, the automotive industry needs to meet the demands and needs of today’s consumers. The demand for more in-vehicle safety features has also helped to fuel the global augmented reality automotive market. Drivers are increasingly looking for safety features in a car that anticipates and avoids accidents. More and more buyers are looking for vehicles that have more advanced and innovative safety features such as blind spot detection and panoramic rear views. These safety features can often make-or-break a buyer’s choice. Augmented reality in the automotive market can also satisfy consumer’s increasing demands for self-driving vehicles in the future. Tesla already has self-driving features in their vehicles, and it is likely they will merge these features with their AR developments in future vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-68.jpeg] CURRENT USAGE OF AR IN CARS Augmented reality might seem like something futuristic, but many auto companies are already implementing AR into their vehicles. Many companies are also using augmented reality for their vehicle’s manuals. A driver can download an accompanying app and use the app and computer vision to identify features in the car then learn more about use as well as give important information about maintenance. Another current usage of AR in vehicles are heads up displays (HUD). Many automotive companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Mazda already have vehicles that use this form of AR to help enhance the driving experience. Vehicles with HUD use augmented reality to project data for the driver such as: * Speed * Directions * Gas levels * Lane guidance * Parking assistance This information is projected onto the windshield so that drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road even for a second. With more advancements in AR, drivers will be able to receive more real-time data as they drive and have more control without ever looking away from the road. The overall potential of AR in automobiles helps to create a more enhanced experience for drivers that will also help reduce traffic accidents and improve longevity of vehicles. WHAT CHANGES CAN AUGMENTED REALITY BRING TO THE AUTOMOTIVE MARKET? The massive growth in the global augmented reality automotive market will not only bring changes and improvements to consumer experience and use, but it will also bring changes to design, manufacturing, and the auto repair industry. DESIGN AND PROTOTYPES Designing and creating prototypes for vehicles can be extremely costly and time consuming. However, using augmented reality, manufacturers can utilize existing models and overlay them with new designs and elements. Some automobile companies are also utilizing smart glasses to design vehicles. It is also a great way for collaboration on projects as edits on designs can be made immediately and shared with all participants. AR also helps to prevent costly manufacturing of prototypes. Immediate changes and improvements can be made to a virtual model rather than creating new physical prototypes with each design change. CAR ASSEMBLY Along with designing new vehicles, AR can help to streamline and boost accuracy in car assembly. Much of the car assembly process is actually still manual which can lead to errors and often makes for a slower process. However, AR can help to optimize the process of assembly to make it quicker, more accurate, and safer for workers. Some car manufacturers are looking into how to utilize augmented reality technology such as smart glasses to help production. Information would be displayed for workers and they can follow step-by-step instructions that are overlaid on specific parts. This can make the manual process more accurate and helps reduce human errors. Another way manufacturers, such as Tesla, are hoping to utilize AR in the assembly process is to use it as a form of quality inspection as the AR applications can scan for inaccuracies and precise measurements. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-69.jpeg] AR IN CAR REPAIR Augmented reality is helping automotive technicians to be able to perform complex repairs and maintenance to vehicles more accurately and quickly. Just as car manufacturers are providing drivers with AR manuals, they are providing similar interactive manuals for repairs. Many companies already implement this technology for their technicians. They use the manuals on mobile devices such as tablets to view step-by-step instructions. This helps to increase accuracy and makes the repair process quicker. New advances in augmented reality is helping to create innovative tools to help auto technicians connect to other support services quicker. In 2017, Porsche launched a new pilot program called Tech Live Look that incorporates using AR smart glasses. The technician wears the glasses as they are working and when they need assistance they can contact a remote support service worker. Through the AR smart glasses the remote worker can view exactly what the auto technician is working on and can guide them through the process. The pilot program in several Porsche dealerships showed a 40% reduction in repair time and the company now plans to expand the use of augmented reality to all their dealerships. GLOBAL INVESTMENTS IN AUGMENTED REALITY BOOSTS AUTOMOTIVE MARKET The growth and investment in the global augmented reality automotive market will change the automotive industry in many ways. While it will be costly to implement AR, it will actually save money for both manufacturers and drivers in the long run. Manufacturers will be able to design and produce vehicles easier, quicker, and more reliably. Drivers will have increased safety measures resulting in fewer car accidents, and they will see longevity in their vehicles with more enhanced safety and maintenance features. Investing in augmented reality can also help boost an automotive company’s appeal to consumers through virtual showrooms and dealerships. RelayCars can help enhance the virtual showroom experience with high quality images and an immersive online experience. Using RelayCars, shoppers can carefully research cars they are looking to purchase before even stepping foot in the dealership.
Hearing the World with Augmented Reality
Visual wearables are the most well-known type of this growing technology, most notably for the flop that was Google Glass. But, hearables are taking over as the hot new trend in augmented reality. From real-time navigation to responsive voice-enabled search features, in-ear devices are small, discreet, and easy to bring with you everywhere you go. Read on to learn how auditory wearable tech has grown within the AR sphere, and why experts expect that this technology is here to stay. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-65.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY VS. VIRTUAL REALITY Virtual reality has long used audio and visual elements to transport users to a completely manufactured digital world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, combines digital elements with the user’s real-world view. When it comes to the future of AR-enabled hearables, this distinction is important to understand because both technologies provide entirely different experiences for the user. As a result of the changes caused by COVID-19, much of the American workforce will be working from home for the foreseeable future. This has created a growing demand for smart hearables, which give remote workers additional flexibility. Common uses for smart aural wearables include: * Hands-free calling * Voice-activated web searching * Noise cancellation * Improved multitasking More advanced models are adapting their technology to act as a secondary “set of ears” for the wearer, from automatic Google searches to real-time language translation. Using hearables as a pathway for augmented reality tech creates an extra layer of insight into the information the wearer is already taking in. AI and interconnectivity with the internet of things gives users an unprecedented level of access, without the need for auxiliary equipment. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-66.jpeg] USES FOR AUGMENTED REALITY One of the most critical components of a successful augmented reality system is seamless interconnectivity. Excessive lag time or lack of compatibility between practical and digital objects can make the AR experience clunky and impossible to navigate. To ensure a fluid connection between the digital and real worlds, augmented reality-enabled wearables use one of two methods to distribute information. CUSTOMIZED CONTENT Did you know that advertisers often collect location information to create tailored experiences for different users? Using this feature, wearables provide brands with the perfect way to build individualized ad campaigns that users will enjoy and, as a result, engage with more. Everything from radio commercials to social media ads use demographic information to appeal to a specific audience. Since more and more consumers are preferring interactive media like music, audiobooks, podcasts, and video, in-ear devices provide the perfect platform for location-specific content. We’re spending more time than ever before on digital communication. As augmented reality gains more traction in the mainstream market, brands are already starting to capitalize on this segmentation tool. SPEECH RECOGNITION Absorbing audio information from the outside environment makes it possible for these devices to recognize, and subsequently, translate spoken language in real time. But, this is not the only use case for in-ear smart devices. Wearable audio devices are also used to aid computers in collecting and processing phonetic speech. Siphoning sounds present in spoken language allows artificial intelligence to build its digital knowledge base and “learn” about user behaviors. VIRTUAL ENTERTAINMENT Unfortunately, COVID-19 has quashed many of our travel plans this year. But, what if you could visit a world-famous art museum from your couch? Using immersive media via augmented reality, this technology is being applied for virtual entertainment. Similar to visual AR methods, hearable in-ear devices allow the reader to experience media with even more depth and engagement. Augmented reality allows these devices to incorporate auditory assisting in real time, such as supplementary information and synced music, using tools like: * Geo-location tracking * Activity monitoring/idle timekeeping * Device interconnectivity Wearables are growing in popularity as people look for more innovative ways to simplify their routines. Augmented reality provides an effective solution by following the user throughout their day, acting as a digital fly on the wall. While standard mobile assistants can provide some level of support, in-ear wearables keep the user connected 24/7, no matter their physical location. IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY FOR MOBILE USERS Being able to layer digital audio elements over sounds that are being transmitted in real time makes mobile computing even more accessible for various users. This capability allows the individual to maintain a high level of control over this aspect of their sensory response. With augmented reality powering internet-enabled devices, the user can adjust the amount of external noise they’d like to take in. Additionally, they can control the sound levels of their AI assistant, incoming calls, background music, and more. For those who are especially sensitive to sensory overload, the incorproate of smart technology into hearable devices addresses a common and widespread gap in the market. MOBILE DEVICE COMPATIBILITY AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS Thanks to the IoT, mobile device users across all platforms, brands, and industries can keep their digital lives connected and running smoothly. This has made it easier than ever for wearable developers to tap into an exponentially growing consumer market. Hearing aids, for example, can the Internet of Things to improve the user’s safety by providing round-the-clock monitoring. If the device picks up interruptions in the user’s heart rate, breathing, it can use this data to make “informed” decisions about the person’s health. Audible devices use sensors, voice commands, contextual information, and auxiliary digital content to create a functional digital world that is accessible from anywhere, at any time. Instead of fully immersive VR programs that require reality-altering glasses or headsets, in-ear devices can apply augmented reality features over external noise and speech. From measuring interactions to new medications to notifying emergency services about a fall or accident, interconnected wearable technology has the potential to make the world safer and more secure for all individuals. PRACTICAL REAL-WORLD USES Safety is one of the primary catalysts to the development of this revolutionary system of technology. By reducing distractions and providing information seamlessly with the user’s day to day life. Interacting with real information in real time helps IoT-enabled devices to “learn” about the world through the ears of the user. Construction workers, for example, can apply this technology to stay alert and on task with in-ear alerts and hands-free notifications. This same functionality can keep workers safe by predicting dangerous situations and making the user aware of dangers like nearby ledges, heavy loads, and even personal injury from over exertion. With cloud-based connectivity and inter-device compatibility, in-ear tech can also utilize biometric data to keep the user safe and secure. POWER AND UTILITIES SUPPORT How are utility providers using the same technology that Snapchat uses to put freckles on its users? Turns out, auditory and visual components in the AR sphere have a significant amount of overlap. Power companies are using this development to improve their services. By siphoning user data related to their individual behaviors throughout the day, utility companies can use hearable tech to understand the behavior of their customers. Using this information, providers can create individualized service plans for both parties to save money and energy in the process. When it comes to task automation, in-ear tech is also helping companies save money by reducing project redundancies and improving efficiency on part of the technicians. Thanks to total hands-free access, in-ear devices make multitasking safer and more effective. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-67.jpeg] BIOMETRIC CONNECTIVITY FOR HEALTH APPLICATIONS Many of us already have biometric features in our smartphones, but hearables are taking this accessibility up a notch. Using biometric information such as movement, heart rate, and breathing patterns, AI-connected in-ear devices can learn about our individual habits to provide tailored, individualized health solutions. These futuristic devices are more intuitive than your standard heart rate monitor. Some manufacturers are already using photoplethysmography, which measures small changes in light reflectivity to gauge the wearer’s pulse and blood pressure. This development is also making wearable technology more comfortable by eliminating the need for additional equipment like wristbands and bulky sensors. Wearable technology is quickly becoming a wardrobe staple for just about everyone, for a variety of reasons from health to productivity. In-ear tech has the potential to completely change the way we live by reducing external distractions, improving sensory intake, and simplifying daily processes safely. With wearable technology becoming more mainstream and accessible than ever before, staying tapped into the web all day long is becoming a growing facet of daily life. Consumers are relying on augmented reality images and media to enhance and improve their day-to-day routines, and wearables are leading this dynamic market. If you’re looking for a way to give your multitasking skills a boost, these are just a few reasons why augmented reality is making waves within the auditory wearable industry.
Check Out the Latest Audis Inside and Out with Audi Virtual Reality
The way that people experience cars and the world in general, has been changing. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality are adding new ways of interacting with and experiencing the world around us. The German car manufacturer Audi saw the potential for how these technologies could change the automotive industry. It isn’t just that they can be used in cars for entertainment, but that these virtual elements are being used to enhance almost every step of the process. This is because these technologies can be used for almost everything, from training to the showroom. Numerous manufacturers are already using virtual reality as a way to train staff safely, allowing them to practice virtually before working on machinery or the production line. Audi has been using some level of virtual reality in its dealerships since 2016. Part of the experience has required staff adjustment, moving away from real world cars, and yet enabling sales through virtual experiences. Moving towards real-time and interactive visualizations takes dealerships to a new model. A headset can allow visitors to view car models in full detail and full size. However, what’s possible goes far beyond that. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-62.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS IMPACTING AUDI SHOWROOMS Some think that virtual reality could replace real-world showrooms. However, it is unlikely to do that in the near future. Instead, the trend seems to be a combination of remote testing and view at home by potential customers, as well as in-store virtual reality experiences. Most shoppers nowadays will start with online research. Even those in actual stores considering a product will often look for reviews online before buying. The confidence in online shopping has dramatically grown since the early years, to the point that people are willing to buy cars and even houses online. However, for the sellers, the challenge has always been providing an end to end experience. With virtual reality, it is now possible for buyers to research, experience, and even test drive virtually – eventually leading to purchase, sometimes without even seeing the car. That said, it is not the end of showrooms. Many still like to be able to talk to someone, compare products, and get ‘expert’ advice. After all, not everything you read online is a fact. This is where virtual reality is becoming a powerful bridge and tool for salespeople in real-world showrooms. As reported by sytner.com “[Virtual reality] also opens up the possibility for small dealerships – that may only be able to store a small number of Audi new cars”. The use of virtual reality may reduce showroom sizes, but could also significantly increase showroom numbers as setup costs are greatly reduced, possibly allowing for previously unviable areas to get their showrooms. As an example of how this can work, the Audi virtual reality experience allows potential customers to view the full range of cars and options from one location. It isn’t a case of “sorry sir, we don’t have that model in stock” anymore. Instead, all models and upgrades can be stored virtually at every showroom, reducing stock requirements. The Audi system uses stereoscopic 3D rendering and real car construction models to develop its system with Zerolight. The result is virtualized cars that look real, inside and out. Even the inner workings of the engine and mechanisms are included in the experience. Customers can see more of the car than was possible with real-world demonstrations. As cars in the virtual world include every detail of their real-world counterparts but aren’t solid like their brothers and sisters, customers can see inside engines, doors, and more. While for many it isn’t a major selling point, it certainly is interesting to be able to view absolutely any aspect of a car. For those with experience and mechanical knowledge, this x-ray style insight into the mechanics behind the car’s features can also help to inspire confidence and increase interest. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-63.jpeg] HOW VIRTUAL REALITY IS CHANGING CAR SALES Audi has developed its virtual reality application and for most areas, this will run on the Oculus Rift headset. This allows for advanced car models that are realistic and explorable in every way. The graphics, as previously mentioned, are backed by the high-performance technologies of Zerolight. Taking the viewing any part of the vehicle aspect further, it does allow for sales staff to be able to not only show off the car, but also any new technologies that are built into the models being viewed. Instead of only being able to say the door as a new comfort seating system, it is possible for the customer to actually see it and even compare it to other vehicles. Most of the time, however, visitors want to see just a few models they like. While this was often possible from a normal showroom, for sales staff virtual reality expands things further. For example, say that a customer would like to see an Audi RS5. Before virtual reality, the sales staff could show off the RS5 in stock and any possible other models of interest that were in the showroom. With virtual reality as a sales tool, they can now show off the Audi RS5 and any Audi in the entire range that might be of interest to the customer. What’s more, not only can they show every vehicle of interest, but also every possible adjustment. This is because all of the virtualized cars are based on the real development plans of the real cars, carefully adding almost every detail to size and perfectly displayed. This means that should a customer want to see the sports trim, with a few extra add-ons, they can do so almost instantly with a few selections within the virtual reality experience. This is an incredibly powerful tool for selling upgrades, as instead of just hearing about the benefits, customers can visually experience exactly what they are considering buying. Audi is going full-on into incorporating virtual reality with its “Customer Private Lounges” across the region. To date, there are hundreds of dealerships with fully kitted lounges that show off the Audi range virtually. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-64.jpeg] This means that potential buyers can put on a headset in a safe environment to explore any car they choose. It allows them to configure the car as they please, within the available options. As the virtual world is fully immersive, the scale and vehicles in the virtual environment feel extremely realistic and to size. Even the lighting can be changed, so the car can be seen shimmering on a summer’s day, or looking aggressive in twilight lighting. This might seem a strange feature at first, but it is a great way for a buyer to see how the car ‘feels’ at night, particularly from the driving seat perspective. AUDI – A FOCUS ON VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES Despite all of the above points being great, for Audi, there is a strong desire to provide a real experience to their customers. Sure, being able to show off all of the features of all possible models is a step, but ideally, you want visitors to be inspired. After all, this is intended to be a sales tool, and nothing sells better than an amazing experience. It is for this reason that Audi took things one step further, but creating not only virtual environments to view cars, but also virtual experiences that relate to the cars. This isn’t just related to being in a car, or the environment where the car is set, but with Audi’s history and related experience. Customers can get to feel like they are at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, even to the extent of experiencing an ‘up close and personal’ pit stop via “special Audi moments”. OTHER WAYS AUDI IS USING VIRTUAL REALITY Audi has embraced extended reality (XR) for business. Extended reality is all forms of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. They are looking at how it can revolutionize the automobile industry. However, Audi isn’t just considering how it can assist with learning, guidance, and virtual meeting. They are also looking to the future, a future where soon we will likely be spending a lot more time in cars where vehicle engagement isn’t required. These extended realities will likely play a big part in keeping people entertained and connected while on the move. 5G is going to make real automation and even remote operation possible. However, with that bandwidth comes the possibility of live streaming games, events, and more to headsets or other virtual devices. This can be anything from making the journey more fun with mixed reality games or characters being added along the route, to being able to watch the game live in full virtual reality while being seated in the driver’s seat returning from work. How cars are seen and how the automotive industry works could be almost unrecognizable in the not too distant future. Assembly line workers could be both trained and able to work remotely with virtual or mixed reality, cars will become autonomous, and sales rooms could shrink and no longer need stock, and that’s if showrooms don’t eventually become entirely virtual … with the test drive vehicle autonomously delivering itself to your door.
Virtual Reality Holds the Keys to the Future of the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry drives and thrives on innovation. New makes and models are introduced by every manufacturer each year and, as technology moves at warp speed, the features and mechanics of these new designs also are driven by new advances. Virtual reality and augmented reality have existed for years, but these platforms have slowly funneled into automotive mechanics and design, marketing initiatives and sales concepts implemented by the manufacturers. In many ways, virtual reality holds the keys to the future of the automotive industry and can positively impact the consumer experience—both behind the wheel and in the sales process. Consumers have become accustomed to augmented reality in GPS devices and safety features like backup cameras and smart rearview windows that incorporate aspects of augmented and virtual reality. However, virtual reality and augmented reality intersect and weave throughout many segments of this industry. We’ll explore how both virtual reality and augmented reality are positioned to enhance the driving experience, product design engineering and the car shopping process, too. Buckle up, and get ready to merge into the fast lane with this innovative technology. VOLVO AND VIRTUAL REALITY Volvo has integrated virtual reality into its manufacturing process for years. Volvo made history in 2015 when it became the first automotive company to partner with Microsoft to utilize Hololens technology in automotive design. Hololens allowed executives and team members to visualize the new models in 3D and showcased them in a real world environment (i.e. augmented reality instead of virtual reality). CNET reported that “Volvo uses HoloLens in its engineering and design meetings….” The same article from CNET predicted that Volvo also was looking to incorporate the technology for service technicians, too. In 2019, Volvo partnered with Varjo to integrate augmented reality into the testing of safety features and to further aid in product development. According to a press release from Volvo: “Compared to its predecessor, the XR-1 adds high-definition cameras to the headset and enables mixed reality. This allows Volvo Cars designers and engineers to ‘drive’ future cars and evaluate all features in a simulation environment many years before they exist, enabling the company to develop the safest cars with the most refined user experience possible.” CAR SHOPPING VIRTUALLY: HOW TOYOTA UTILIZED AUGMENTED REALITY TO ENHANCE THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE In 2019, Toyota was making headlines across trade and industry publications for using augmented reality to elevate the consumer’s shopping experience. Toyota partnered with Vertebrae and Saatchi & Saatchi to create a virtual shopping experience that, according to the announcement via Vertebrae, required no apps or downloads. The online experience allowed shoppers to “…place the AR vehicle in any environment (in their driveway or garage – or in front of their office) and walk around the vehicle to explore it at any angle.” As Covid-19 swept across the United States and shut down many businesses that were deemed nonessential, many dealerships and manufacturers embraced virtual reality and augmented reality to simulate the car buying experience from home. RelayCars provided dealerships with an online virtual showroom a platform that allowed consumers to preview different makes and models from the comfort of home. Shoppers could view the interior and exterior of different vehicles and even preview different paint colors. While these virtual platforms allowed consumers to explore their options, for some dealerships, virtual test drives also were offered. These test drives could be utilized via an app—like a game. Others, though, simply allowed shoppers to schedule a test drive remotely. The dealership delivered the vehicle to the shopper’s home for a personalized test drive. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-59.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND VEHICLE SAFETY Many new models are equipped with augmented reality features that may enhance the driver’s safety, or, at least, improve the driving experience. Smart rearview mirrors can utilize cameras from the back of the car for an enhanced view of the traffic (or obstacles) behind the driver. This feature is especially useful during night driving or when navigating in poorly lit areas (like a parking garage). Other features in our cars also take advantage of this unique technology. If you use a GPS system for navigation, the computerized paths generated over the street views to denote your route are an example of how augmented reality simplifies your journey. Accessing your backup (or front end) cameras to view your turning radius or to check your proximity to other cars and obstacles also is another form of automotive augmented reality at work. These cameras and the navigation prompts they provide may help eliminate minor fender benders. CNET delved into the world of automotive augmented reality last summer. CNET’s story highlighted the new GMC pickups that featured “…a transparent trailer view option.” This unique vantage point was a bit like throwing an invisibility cloak over the trailer; the driver could see behind their truck as if the trailer wasn’t even there! VIRTUAL REALITY: MARKETING & DESIGN While most drivers will be greeted with some form of augmented reality in their vehicles, virtual reality’s use for drivers is a bit more limited…for now. Virtual platforms enhance the shopping experience and allow consumers to preview cars and explore features, but, during drivetime, virtual reality isn’t really integrated into the navigation system. This technology is still incredibly important in the industry, though. While drivers don’t necessarily step into the virtual realm on the road, designers, engineers and executives do immerse in the virtual. The integration of virtual reality into the design process has helped to transform this aspect of the industry. During Covid, Joel Piaskowski (of Ford) spoke with Automobile Magazine about how virtual reality platforms allowed executives to continue the design process while working remotely during the pandemic. By utilizing virtual reality headsets, executives could view three-dimensional models of vehicles and assess the features as a team. Avatars represented each team member within the virtual world. Piaskowski told the magazine that executives could swap vantage points to view the model from another team member’s angle and also could utilize laser pointers within the virtual platform to pinpoint specific features. Other manufacturers have utilized virtual reality platforms for marketing purposes. For example, BMW offered a virtual test drive on Mars for its X3 model! Consumers could navigate the red planet from behind the wheel of the luxury X3; however, user experience was limited…as the test drive was via YouTube. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-60.jpeg] VIRTUAL REALITY & NASCAR Even before Covid, NASCAR fans embraced virtual reality racing in the form of iRacing. Fans could take to the track in a simulated virtual reality racing challenge. NASCAR provided two options—a race where all cars were equal and another where fans could change up their cars. Races provided simulated racing experiences where drivers competed for championship glory…from anywhere. Those with virtual reality headsets—like Oculus Rift or Pimax—could jump onto the track for a more realistic experience that immersed them into the race. However, racers didn’t have to use a headset to compete in the iRacing competitions. iRacing allowed diehard racing fans to experience the thrill of NASCAR even when races might have been halted because of the pandemic. Fans could race on a variety of tracks including Texas Motor Speedway, Fairbury Speedway, Lime Rock Park, Silverstone, Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 24h Le Mans and many more! When Covid hit and halted the racing season, NASCAR responded by airing their eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. While fans could already take to the virtual track, the online virtual reality world became the solution to keep race fans enjoying their favorite sport. In an article for CBS Sports, Scott Warfield, NASCAR’s Managing Director for Gaming, was interviewed about the virtual races: “I think we were confident in what it would do because of what we’ve seen over the past 11 years,” Warfield explained (to CBS). “With that said, I’d be lying if I thought it would do 1.3 million viewers and it would be broadcasted in 160 countries around the world. I’ve gotten more emails and texts from friends and family and college buddies about iRacing and different events they’re seeing over the last three weeks on Sunday than outside of the Daytona 500. “It’s not replacing the Cup Series, it’s not replacing the NBA or any of this other stuff. We understand that. But it’s filling a little bit of a void and it’s real and it’s dramatic and it’s unpredictable and the finishes have been great. All of those things that make sports special, there’s components of all of that in this.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-61.jpeg] VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY: THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY NASCAR drivers are racing virtually. Safety features integrating augmented reality help aid drivers during commutes. Manufacturers also utilized virtual reality to showcase car models while design teams were forced to work from home during the pandemic. To simplify the car shopping process during shelter-in-place mandates, manufacturers and dealerships provided virtual showrooms to help prospective buyers find their ideal car, allowing them to see inside and even update paint hues. While all of these advancements have thrust the automotive industry into a high-tech realm, the industry has merely touched on the beginning of how virtual and augmented reality will enhance the driving experience…and the industry as a whole. Design teams can merely speculate about the possible uses of virtual reality and how it can—and will—change the features of future models. Self-driving cars are the future of automotive technology, and drivers could be completely bumped from the driver’s seat. In their place, perhaps an avatar will be positioned in the driver’s seat. Maybe that avatar looks like the car’s owner. Or perhaps we will be able to choose the appearance of virtual drivers. Maybe no one will sit in the driver’s seat! Apple filed a patent for a smart windshield. According to news reports, details of the patent possibly reveal that this smart windshield will feature Facetime capabilities. The possibilities for a smart windshield, though, could be endless. In a self-driving car, this type of windshield also could allow passengers to surf the web or handle other business matters (although this isn’t speculated in reports related to the patent). The evolution of technology and its constant advancement leaves so many doors open as to how virtual and augmented reality platforms can be integrated in design and development, too. For Jaguar, virtual reality has been a pivotal part of the design process, but the technology also has been vital for other processes, too. Jaguar Land Rover’s Virtual Reality Centre “is considered to be the most advanced Virtual Reality facility in the automotive industry.” Jaguar has used virtual reality in its development for more than a decade (since 2008), and, for the luxury manufacturer, virtual reality isn’t simply limited to design and 3D models. In the company’s blog, Andy Richardson, who is a manager of the Jaguar Land Rover Simulation Group in the United Kingdom wrote: “The power and flexibility of the system is such that it is not just restricted to vehicles. We’ve used Virtual Reality to help with the design of the factories we use to assemble the vehicles. Virtual Reality helped us to visualize the vehicle as it passes through every stage of the manufacturing process to optimize the tools, facilities and processes to ensure each vehicle can be made just as engineering intended.” CONSUMER COMFORT & VIRTUAL REALITY Manufacturers and dealerships are embracing virtual reality for numerous reasons. Consumers may seemingly have no choice but to embrace it, too. Although, many consumers have embraced it and perhaps may even prefer the virtual to the reality. Covid forced most consumers to limit their shopping to essential items only. However, some consumers still needed to buy a new car, even when dealerships might have been closed to in-person traffic. Covid, after all, didn’t stop mechanical breakdowns or other issues that might lead to the replacement of an old model. How do you preview a new car, though, when you can’t visit the dealership? Virtual reality showrooms! In the period of April 25 to April 27, 16 percent of those who responded to the Covid-19 Digital Shopping Study said that the “ability to purchase completely online” was one of the “Triggers that could accelerate vehicle purchase.” In addition, about 66 percent of those responded said that they were “more likely to buy the vehicle 100% online.” While the report didn’t highlight virtual showrooms or virtual test drives, for many shopping online for a car, these experiences could have aided their search and helped them feel more comfortable. The reality is that Covid has likely forced many to reconcile any discomfort of shopping online and even making major purchases online, because, for many industries, online shopping was the only option. The pandemic changed buying habits, and online shopping and the use of virtual reality and augmented reality to aid the quest of online shopping will probably become a more normalized way to shop and explore new services, experiences and products. As more sales head online, virtual reality also will likely be used to provide consumers with a simulation of interactions that are so vital to the in-store experience. In the realm of automotive sales, virtual reality will likely take the driver’s seat. Consumers may experience more virtual options, including immersive test drive experiences. Driving on Mars may only be the beginning of what the industry will offer. If self-driving cars become the normalized way to commute, these test drives could take place as virtual simulations in the dealership. Virtual showrooms may be inclusive to physical showrooms. We might walk into a dealership and see a projection of a new vehicle. The hologram could be completely interactive and allow shoppers to virtually open doors and peek inside the vehicle. The future of virtual reality for the automotive industry is really open to the imagination and genius new innovations of designers and engineers. Buckle up, because the virtual ride will most likely be an exhilarating journey!
Training Employees for Automotive Assembly Using Augmented Reality Apps
Although the use of virtual reality and augmented reality training isn’t restricted to the vehicle assembly line, it is a good example of how these technologies are changing our approaches to learning real-world skills. In the past, education would often follow a standard pattern of studying the theory and then applying the practical use on the job or under supervised scenarios. While this has, to some degree, worked for decades, there is a better way. With automotive augmented reality training, there is no need for these learning processes to be separated. It can be a smooth transition from learning the theory, to seeing how it works, and practicing. All of this is also done in a safe virtual environment, reducing risks and costs for employers. A lot of new employees (and their supervisors) can experience high levels of stress when the ‘on the job’ training starts. This is mainly due to the possibility that something serious could go wrong, halting production, or even causing an injury. With Augmented reality, the training can begin in the virtual world, and that training support can even be overlaid onto the real world. This helps to increase confidence and avoid issues. It allows new staff to practice to their heart’s content until they feel confident enough to take on the job for real. In this article, we take a look at the many areas augmented and virtual training can improve for automotive processes. HOW CAN AUGMENTED REALITY BE USED IN TRAINING FOR THE ASSEMBLY LINE? Virtual reality and augmented reality allow staff to practice and fully develop complex skill sets in the safety of a harmless virtual environment. This makes it a useful way of training staff for almost any job but is particularly effective for automotive production training. Many major car manufacturers have already jumped on this training approach, including famous brands like Volkswagen and Audi. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-55.jpeg] CASE STUDY BMW wanted to improve its training program, and so contacted Capgemini. The aim was to get people trained up faster and to a high standard, but without needing additional staff commitments or delays in other areas. The solution was an AR training app that “provided employees with access to individual, hands-on dashboard assembly practice before being put into the assembly line”. It resulted in impressive benefits, such as reducing costs, reducing training times, improving staff job satisfaction, and more. The app was also created to be easily updated and expandable, allowing for more BMW training programs to be developed. DEEPENING UNDERSTANDINGS Learning from books is all very well and good, but augmented reality can almost literally bring learning to life. The 2D diagrams and explanations in books are helpful, but with augmented reality, people can see the ‘real’ objects and interact with them in a quite natural way. Being able to move, pull apart, or even ‘explode’ and object into its individual parts can give a much deeper understanding of it. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-56.jpeg] If advanced enough, augmented reality apps can also allow students what happens when things are not aligned properly, or if parts of the process are skipped. This not only shows them how things work but why every part of the process is important. Being able to see how everything fits together and works is more of a fun and interactive experience, which in turn leads to better knowledge retention in many students/employees. SAFETY The main and most obvious impact on safety is the ability for trainees to be able to practice potentially dangerous tasks in a safe virtual environment. This makes the transition to ‘on the job’ practice less daunting and reduces risk significantly. VXCHNGE points out that “The factory floor has always been a complex and potentially hazardous environment, but AR technology could provide a new level of visibility.” This is good for employers and staff, as fewer injuries result in less time off work and less expense on legal claims or compensation. Fewer claims can also result in lowered insurance premiums. However, virtual training can also help to improve safety in other ways, such as practicing the procedures of worst-case scenarios. This enables staff to be prepared, without the need to shut down a facility or machine to practice the process. COST REDUCTIONS We mentioned above that a safer environment could result in reduced premiums, but there are also plenty of other cost savings. New staff can practice as much as they need, without taking up more time or focus from supporting staff members, as AR apps handle the training process. Staff working with objects or materials do not need raw materials and resources to train. Materials normally required to train staff will largely no longer be needed, such as engine parts or panels that would be required to practice on. The equipment is also not taken out of service for practice purposes, or the company doesn’t need additional equipment to be held aside purely for practice. As staff get to practice virtually as they need, and can even get augmented support on the job, mistakes are reduced. Fewer mistakes lead to fewer production issues and lowered training costs. TRAINING EFFICIENCY Whether augmented or virtual reality is used, this immersive training approach improves training consistency and retention. Once the apps are developed, the training is standardized. However, the experiences within the training are also highly personal, as each person can learn from their own mistakes and practice whatever they need to focus on. It has been proven that virtual reality training programs lead to higher knowledge retention levels. The University of Maryland studied this in regards to virtual reality learning and found above a 90% retention rate, which is far higher than most traditional training approaches. This was put into content by pixovr.com who summed up the findings in the statement: “At 90+ percent recall, VR training would score in the A-range, while desktop computer training, at a shade below 79 percent, would be stuck back in the C’s” This is because learning is more engaging, interactive, and literally ‘hands-on’. However, should a staff member start to forget or feel unsure about something, with augmented reality training available, it is easy for them to brush up on their skills without needing to interrupt other staff members. What’s more, training programs and ‘refreshers’ can easily be created and updated, allowing for the latest knowledge to be on hand and easily accessible. It can also be interactive, with staff from anywhere training with other staff members. This can be useful for collaboration or international business training programs. All of this helps to create a consistently educated and trained workforce, increasing confidence, and lowering stress levels. Gamification of training can even make it fun, more rewarding, and far less stressful than learning on a live assembly line. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-57.jpeg] INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY Another positive aspect of augmented reality training is that it isn’t limited to only being in the classroom. Augmented reality can be continued to be used on live systems, or ongoing with the correct headset. It can add information and ‘advice’ to real-world equipment, used in the development of processes, and for assisting with new scenarios. Augmented reality, for example, could be used to not only plan the layout of an entire automotive factory or assembly line but to also actually test that the designs work and see how effective it would be once operational. All of this, before needing to spend anything on materials or machinery. The advanced high-level cameras used can also assist with the production process, highlighting where something could go or even if there is a malformation in a part that has just been produced. Collaboration can be from anywhere in the world, allowing effective discussions, planning, and practicing implementation virtually by any employees, regardless of where they work in the world. As far as making announcements is concerned, it can be as effective as mobile messaging, except that the recipients do not need to stop what they are doing and everyone wearing a device will get the message. Even maintenance can be notified and lesser skilled or new employees guided through the process step-by-step virtually, ensuring machinery keeps running to optimum efficiency. From providing tips and info to highlighting dangerous defects, augmented reality can improve efficiency significantly in both training and the live workplace. In effect, training can be a continuous augmented reality assisted process. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-58.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF VIRTUAL REALITY OR AUGMENTED REALITY FOR TRAINING? To summarize the aspects listed above and more benefits of virtual technology in training, the key takeaways are: * Courses are not only standardized (instead of relying on different staff), they are also highly focussed and interactive * Augmented reality and virtual reality incorporates numerous learning approaches, making them compatible and attention-grabbing for most people * Learning is more fun than with only using books, especially when augmented reality tasks are gamified * Training is often faster and yet also more beneficial to trainees * Trainees feel more comfortable and more confident, as they can practice activities as many times as they need * Retention of materials learned is increased * For some jobs, this can even lead to muscle memory retention, allowing staff to work almost instinctively after training and without being on the assembly line prior * Training can be undertaken as an individual or with other staff locally or from any other locations * Training is safer for all * Performance is tracked and feedback can be provided remotely, whether virtually or written * Costs are reduced by allowing skilled staff to continue working while allowing new staff to fully train in a virtual manner * Costs are continually reducing as more developers move into the field and hardware prices continue to become more mainstream affordable * Easily accessible via any compatible device, often including augmented reality headsets and even compatible mobile phones * There is no need to wait for a disaster, or to shut down machinery when worst-case situations can be rehearsed virtually The possibilities of augmented reality training apps for the automotive assembly line are still unfolding. However, it is clear that this approach is effective and that it is likely to be adopted in many other sections, including outside of this sector.
Top 10 Most Loved Car Brands
Every year, the data analytics and consumer intelligence company J.D. Power conducts a study to determine the car brands that are the most appealing to consumers. To conduct the 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, J.D. Power analyzed responses from nearly 90,000 owners of new 2020 model year vehicles in the U.S. The study is designed to measure how owners feel about their new vehicle using 37 different attributes. For example, owners were asked to evaluate the feeling they got when accelerating in their new vehicle and the sense of luxury they felt while behind the wheel. These scores were then added together to calculate a total APEAL index score that could range from 1 to 1000. The results of this study revealed that these automotive brands had the highest scores, which makes them the top 10 most loved car brands in 2020: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-50.jpeg] HYUNDAI With 842 points, Hyundai came in at #10 on the list of the most loved car brands of 2020. This includes multiple brands under the Hyundai parent company, including Kia and Genesis. Hyundai may not have topped this list, but as a parent company, it did receive more awards than any other automotive manufacturer. This year, APEAL Awards were given to the Genesis G70, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Stinger, and Kia Telluride. HONDA Soichiro Honda founded Honda in 1949, and over 70 years later, it is still one of the most popular car brands in the United States. There are a number of reasons why consumers love Honda vehicles. The manufacturer has a reputation for producing high-quality, reliable vehicles, which is a quality that consumers will always appreciate. But reliability by itself isn’t enough to secure a spot on this list. Honda edged out the competition by upgrading its design with more sophisticated technology and higher-end materials. This might not be the only year that Honda lands a coveted spot on this list. Another study found that Honda has some of the most loyal consumers of all manufacturers in the automotive industry. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-51.jpeg] NISSAN With 844 points, Nissan tied with two other automotive manufacturers for the #8 spot on this list. This may come as a surprise to automotive industry insiders since the company has seen a decline in sales over the last several years. Similar to Hyundai, Nissan won a number of awards for the brands under its parent company, including the Nissan Armada, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Sentra, and Nissan Versa. Nissan earned a respectable position on the list for this year, but it may climb even higher in the years to come. This is because the manufacturer has announced plans to update the designs of many of their models over the next few years. If consumers respond well to these updates, the automotive manufacturer could soar to the top of next year’s list. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-52.jpeg] MAZDA Mazda’s three-way tie for 8th on this list may seem like a modest accomplishment, but it’s no small feat for this automotive manufacturer. Last year, Mazda was ranked nine spots lower on the list. But this year, consumers responded more positively to 2020 Mazdas, especially the Mazda 3, Mazda 5, and Mazda Miata. J.D. Power isn’t the only company that noticed the shift in consumers’ perception of this automotive brand. The U.S. News & World Report named Mazda the Best Car Brand for 2020. Mazda’s higher APEAL score could be attributed to its high safety score, which is a quality that consumers always look for when purchasing a new vehicle. But the updated interior design, which now includes an upgraded infotainment system, could also have lifted Mazda’s scores this year. KIA The final automotive manufacturer in the three-way tie for 8th place is Kia. Two Kia models, the Stinger and Telluride, helped its parent company, Hyundai, win a number of APEAL awards this year. But even though Kia falls under the Hyundai parent company, this automotive manufacturer has strong enough scores to rank on this list on its own. This year, consumers responded well to a number of different Kia models, including the Cadenza and Forte. Both of these Kia models are designed with stylish exteriors and luxurious interiors complete with UVO infotainment systems. Kia also offers one of the most consumer-friendly warranties in the automotive industry, which could be another reason why it ranked so high on this list. Kia may be tied for 8th place on this list, but it actually placed first in the Initial Quality Study, which is also conducted by J.D. Power. These scores indicate that Kia could continue to climb higher in the years ahead. MINI Scoring an impressive 846 points, Mini secured the #5 spot on this list of the car brands that consumers love the most. As its name suggests, this manufacturer initially offered consumers a smaller, luxurious vehicle with a unique look. But now, Mini models are not so mini anymore. The larger size may not make sense given the manufacturer’s name, but it does seem to be a hit with consumers, who appreciate the additional space offered in the newer models. Mini vehicles are also known for their reliability, speed, and stylish designs. These vehicles may have higher price points than others on the list, but this doesn’t seem to bother consumers, who may be willing to pay more in order to experience these unparalleled vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-53.jpeg] FORD Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, Ford ranked #4 on the top 10 most loved car brands of 2020. Some industry experts may be surprised that Ford is not higher on this list, especially because the Ford F-150 consistently ranks as the most popular pick-up truck in the country. Ford may produce the most popular trucks on the market, but it also manufactures other types of vehicles. For example, the Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. The Mustang has been around for decades, but it continues to rank high on the list of the best sports cars year after year. The Ford Escape, a sports utility vehicle (SUV), is another popular vehicle produced by this manufacturer. In fact, the Escape even earned an APEAL award this year. Other Ford vehicles, including the mid-size Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, have not been as well-received by consumers. This could explain why Ford was unable to land the top spot on this list despite its successful line of pick-up trucks and SUVs. GMC General Motors Company, or GMC, was ranked #3 by consumers who responded to the J.D. Power 2020 APEAL study. A number of the GMC parent company’s vehicles won awards in this study, including the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Blazer, and GMC Sierra HD. These are some of the many GMC vehicles that appealed to a vast number of consumers this year. GMC may have ranked near the top on this list, but it did not fare so well in another J.D. Power study. It ranked #8 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which measures the number of problems that owners of new vehicles experience within the 90 days of ownership. Perhaps addressing these issues and improving the overall perceived quality of GMC vehicles could help GMC secure the top spot next year. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-54.jpeg] RAM The runner up on this year’s list is Ram, which scored 871 points in the 2020 APEAL study. Ram scored well in the Initial Quality Study as well, landing the #3 spot on that list. Unlike other manufacturers on the list, Ram solely produces trucks and vans. Despite their limited product line, consumers responded incredibly well to Ram vehicles, showing a deep emotional attachment with their newly purchased 2020 models. Scores were high for Ram vehicles across the board, but one model that scored high enough to earn an APEAL award was the Ram 1500, which is a full-sized pick-up truck with a luxurious interior. Ram’s high ranking may not come as a surprise to many since the company reported the highest sales growth among all automotive manufacturers in the first half of 2019. Studies have shown that Ram consumers are also very loyal. More than half of previous Ram owners who purchased a new vehicle in the last year chose to buy another Ram. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that most consumers are currently more than satisfied with their Ram vehicles. DODGE Dodge scored 872 points, which is enough to secure the top spot on the list of the 2020 car brands that consumers love the most. This isn’t the only top spot that Dodge secured this year—it was also the top-ranked manufacturer in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study. This makes Dodge the first domestic automotive manufacturer to secure the top spots in the mass market segments in both lists during the same year. Many Dodge vehicles received positive ratings from consumers this year, but the Dodge Challenger, a muscle car, scored high enough to earn a model-level APEAL award. This vehicle is consistently ranked one of the top sports cars on the market due to its spacious, luxurious interior and powerful V8 engine options, some of which top out over 700 horsepower. Dodge’s reliability, safety, upgraded designs, and speed have helped the manufacturer beat out its competitors and win the top spot on this year’s list. Automotive manufacturers from around the world rely on the results of this study to help them make better business decisions and design vehicles that are more appealing to the modern consumer. For this reason, it is safe to say that these results could impact the way that new models of vehicles are designed and marketed to consumers in the year ahead.