Munich – BMW (ETR: BMW) has announced on Thursday the introduction of virtual reality technology to its development systems with the help of HTC Vive. The technology will allow developers to test the car’s functions in a semi-real environment before it is approved for production.

The luxury german carmaker assured that the incorporation of VR will improve their processes and save them a great deal of time and efforts, especially during the early stages of development.

BMW and HTC Vive
BMW has joined forces with HTC Vive to design new vehicles using virtual reality. Credit: Univision

“By incorporating consumer electronics, the developers gain an unprecedented degree of flexibility, because any modifications can be implemented and tested very quickly,” the company stated in a press release.

The processes to reproduce a similar environment in the cars aimed to conduct tests used to be expensive and usually took place in specialized laboratories, now the approach can be made from the offices and enables developers around the globe to be part of the decision-making process.

A draft model for a new car will have to be tested through the HTC Vive to gain the full approval from the company and maybe resolve some issues in a quicker way than before. The improvements go from the design to the car’s operational functions in different environments.

However, even though the use of this technology has been recently announced by BMW, the german company also stated that they have already been using it in pilot projects since autumn 2015.

Helpful technology but not an exclusive one

The HTC Vive consist in a virtual reality headset which is designed to use room scale technology to turn a room into 3D through its sensors, a function that BMW in complementing with real seats and motor sounds to enhance the experience.

But the technology is not the only one being used by the team, they also use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 and computation done with high-end gaming computers that have water-cooled and overclocked components like a pair of Nvidia Titan X GPUs and an Intel Core i7 processor, as reported by Tech Times.

In addition, the german team has not made any commitments to the HTC Vive, they can switch technology is they found one with a better approach to their needs. BMW said they will be regularly evaluating hardware and software options to be informed about the latest developments

Source: BMW