Immersive car buying experiences with DS Automobiles

By Alyssa
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DS Automobiles, the luxury division of PSA Group, has a mission: develop an end-to-end digital system of communication, distribution and sales that allows them to present their entire product line via immersive experiences and to know their customers in great detail to anticipate their needs and desires.

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Launched in early 2015, the company is all about embracing the digital world; they even broadcast their brand launch press conference live on Facebook. At the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, DS Automobiles was showcasing their new DS3. They did so by allowing attendees to put on an HTC Vive headset which would allow them to experience what it would be like to sit behind the new supermini. Through this highly immersive, realistic and complete virtual experience, customers could easily imagine the possibilities by allowing them to envision themselves in the car in real-world situations. They were also able to see how easy (and fun!) it would be to personalize the vehicle. The DS3 offers more than 3 million combinations, from the dashboard to the upholstery to the mirrors and more. Consumers can configure the car, and then virtually experience it to make any changes before purchase.

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DS Automobiles hopes this will help them sell more cars more easily and more quickly, as well as help them capture knowledge to develop future solutions. They were pleased to tightly partner with Dassault Systemes to bring their “DS Virtual Vision” to life, leveraging the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its Virtual Garage Industry Solution Experience o harness all data, connect key stakeholders and create these immersive experiences with efficiency.

Watch now a video on DS Automobiles’ DS Virtual Vision. You can also read an article written by DS Automobiles’ Executive Director, Global Sales & Marketing, Arnaud Ribault, in the latest issue of Dassault Systemes Compass mag that explains the mission of DS Automobiles in his own words.

 

(Images © DS Automobiles) 

3CON Enhances Automotive Interiors with 3DEXPERIENCE

By Alyssa
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When people are asked what they want most in their automobiles, they first cite safety, fuel efficiency and reliability.  But right behind those factors, they say they look at functional interiors and ergonomics.

The automotive industry moves at a very fast pace, with short, unforgiving lead times. More than ever, innovation is critical. For nearly 20 years, Austria’s 3CON has built a solid reputation as a leading global manufacturer of automotive interior machinery.  3CON strategically established sites in Austria, China and North America in order to cater to local customer requirements, as well as deliver agile after-sales services.  With designers in multiple locations, collaboration was the biggest challenge that prevented 3CON from innovating at the required speed to meet market demands.

To improve multi-site collaboration and accelerate the process of transforming concepts into sturdy, efficient equipment while maintaining quality, 3CON selected Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.  In this new environment, they manage complexity with a library of standardized components that is easily accessible to designers regardless of their location.  This streamlined process enables the ability to customize existing components to meet customer specifications in a cost efficient way.  Designers also use the system to share their vision and exchange ideas with clients early in the sales cycle and use real-time input throughout the entire process. This not only enhances the relationship with the customer, since they know exactly what they will get, but helps reduce design cycle time and costs by eliminating the need for costly changes later in the design process.  Because the system is fast and easy to use, 3CON can rapidly try out new ideas and test more design iterations to increase their innovation capacity.

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Watch the new customer case study video to hear directly from 3CON’s leadership about the successes they’ve had to date, such as cutting design time by 30%, lowering the assembly start-up phase by 50% and reducing the risk of cost overages due to improved project visibility.  They also share their future goals, such as delivering high-end 3D virtual experiences to their sales force and customers and paperless production. Additional information about 3CON’s experience is available in a written study.

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The routes of the future

By Catherine
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Written by Catherine Bolgar

There’s more to transportion innovation than self-driving electric vehicles.

From high-tech cycle lanes to supersonic space planes, the future of travel is on course for a design revolution. Start with the humble bike. With city cycling now all the rage, road infrastructure is set for some radical innovations. London-based architecture firms Foster + Partners and Exterior Architecture, for example, jointly proposed a bike deck, called SkyCycle, that would be built above 220 kilometers of existing rail tracks thereby connecting central London to the suburbs, and making it more attractive to live near a rail track.

“When we built the railways, they originally were designed for steam trains, with nearly flat grades,” says Huw Thomas, partner at Foster + Partners. “They were noisy and nobody liked living near them. They were lost in the urban fabric, but they go from the city’s edge to extraordinary nodes in the city center.”

More than four million people live within a 10-minute bike ride of SkyCycle’s proposed route, half of whom are commuters, Mr. Thomas says. SkyCycle would cost an estimated £6 billion ($9 billion) to £8 billion to build. The deck could integrate smart networks without streets having to be dug up. And it could even include a lane for roboticized package delivery.

Bikes themselves are also likely to undergo modernization. Lisbon-based designer David Miguel Moreira Gonçalves has developed two electric-assist bikes, the Grasshopper and the Cruiser, for use in Portugal’s hilly capital. “The Grasshopper is a foldable electric bike that can be used with a car or with public transportation,” he says. It can even be used at home to generate electricity by placing it on a stand and pedaling.

Every part of the bicycle’s life is justified,” he says.

But the idea for which Mr. Gonçalves has had most attention is his futuristic concept car, the Scarab, which won the 2010 Michelin Challenge Design. He wanted to create an electric vehicle that could use existing infrastructure and serve as either a personal car or shared transport. Driven by robotics, it would use facial-recognition software to identify and stop for specified passengers, while GPS and tracking would get them to their destination. It could even park vertically to save space. “It’s a very utopian idea,” he says.

Another idea, Next, envisages swarms of self-driving pods that link and delink on the move, while passengers can pass through interconnecting sliding doors to the specific pod that’s going their way. Meanwhile, Transport Systems Catapult is testing their own self-driving pods in Milton Keynes, U.K., with 40 expected to be in use by 2017.

At sea, Juliet Marine Systems Inc. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the U.S. has developed the high-speed Ghost, a small waterplane area twin-hull (SWATH) vessel. Using microbubbles and supercavitation, Ghost creates an air bubble around the hulls which reduces friction up to 900-fold, increasing speed, says Gregory Sancoff, president and chief executive of Juliet Marine.

Besides military applications, Ghost could have recreational or commercial uses. For example, Ghost’s stable technology might be ideal for high-speed ferries crossing the powerful Gulf Stream, Mr. Sancoff adds.

iStock_000005775678_SmallAir travel is also set to speed up, with a supersonic plane that could fly halfway around the world at Mach 5, powered by the revolutionary Sabre engine. The Sabre-powered Lapcat A2 concept, under development by Reaction Engines Ltd. of Abingdon, U.K., would fill the gap for supersonic passenger travel left by Concorde’s demise in 2003.

The Sabre engine can also power space vehicles, such as Skylon, a reusable space plane that could carry satellites into orbit or supply the International Space Station. “The approximately 100 space flights each year now cost $100 million to $200 million apiece, because the rockets are used only once,” says Richard Varvill, Reaction Engines’ technical director.

However, Sabre-powered launch vehicles like Skylon would cut current launch costs about 90%, he says. The U.K. government has pledged £60 million to develop the Sabre engine, alongside a £20 million investment from BAE Systems PLC, Mr. Varvill says.

Unlike the space shuttle, which launched vertically and included an orbiter with a large external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters which dropped away, Skylon is designed to take off and land like a plane and be completely self-contained.

The Skylon could carry a 15-ton payload and could reach low Earth orbit in 15 to 20 minutes. “It will make getting into space cheaper and safer,” Mr. Varvill says.

 

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe. For more from Catherine Bolgar, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock



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