The Audi e-tron GT is the first four rings model for which production was planned entirely without physical prototypes using virtual reality and more. Multiple technical innovations made this possible, including three-dimensional building scans, machine learning processes and the use of virtual reality. All assembly processes, such as procedures and employee actions were tested and optimized in virtual spaces that model their real-world counterparts down to the finest detail. Virtual planning is now used across site boundaries, enabling digital, connected working without business trips or foreign assignments – and not just during the coronavirus pandemic. 3D scans and the planning in virtual spaces make processes more efficient and sustainable.
From an article in Automotive World.
A variety of prototypes are used in the conventional planning process for the production of a new Audi model. The vehicle prototypes are fabricated during the early planning phase as one-off models with hand-built parts. This is time consuming and cost intensive. Assembly Planning uses these prototypes to define and optimize the later production processes. What are the employee’s tasks? Where does a part have to be located for the employee to have optimal access to it? Can the employee hold and install the part by him- or herself? How does she have to move to do it? Are other parts in the way? What tools does he need?
During production planning for the Audi e-tron GT, these questions were derived and answered entirely in the virtual world. Every step and every action was tested in the digital space using virtual reality. The goal of virtual planning is to ensure that during the later production of the vehicle, all processes are perfectly meshed and the cycles along the line are seamlessly coordinated. This requires that every detail of the production hall be modeled precisely and to scale. This is where 3D scans come into play. Using special hardware and software, they create a virtual reproduction of the physical production facility, including all equipment, tools and shelves.
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