Make no mistake. This is no video game, but a new tool used by Renault engineers at the Technocentre, the Group's vehicle development site in Guyancourt, outside Paris. Its 4096 x 4096 pixel definition and ability to calculate 19 images every 16 milliseconds set it apart from other simulators. This interactive, immersive 3D visualization tool provides Renault with the best imaging quality currently available.
But what is the new simulator for?
This simulator lets engineers observe and interact with a fully digitized vehicle. With the digital databases developed by design and engineering, users can analyze all the details of a life-sized virtual vehicle, either from the inside or the outside. This superb working tool features CAVE™ (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) technology with 70 million 3D pixels and impressive computing power of several dozen teraflops (unit of computing speed).
The word CAVE™ may have you frowning, so let's explain what it is. The display is controlled by the physical movements of the user inside the CAVE™ space. A motion capture system records the position of the user's head in real time. CAVE™ technology allows greater freedom of movement than a wide-angle immersive head-mounted display (no wires between the head-mounted display and the computers). The image displayed depends on the head movements of the user, creating a sensation of complete immersion.
When you're wearing the goggles, it's as if the car was actually in front of you. As if you could place the contents of your pockets in the stowage compartments and just drive away... exactly as you would in real life.
Andras Kemeny, head of the Immersive and Virtual Reality Centre, explained the aim of this advanced technology: "Using this new simulator, engineers and designers of future Renault vehicles will be able to sit behind the virtual wheel of a new model during the development process and take it for a drive in a 3D universe achieving a level of realism and detail never before seen in the automotive industry." This innovation will contribute to improving the perceived quality and ergonomics of future models in the range.
Equipped with 19 Sony very high definition 3D projectors, this simulator offers a wide range of possibilities for the future. Further developments, such as touch, noise and under-seat vibrations, could one day enhance the sensation of immersion.
I don't know about you but, personally, I'd love to test this simulator! Can you imagine playing a video game or watching a film with that level of imaging quality and realism. Tempting, isn't it?