The scenic route between Wantage, a small town in Oxfordshire, and Coventry in the United Kingdom, winds over steep hills, past Shakespeare’s birthplace and winds past 19th-century English bathhouses.
A project that uses edge computing and the world’s first 5G-enabled VR technology allows two engineering teams in those areas, about 70 miles apart, to work together as if they were in the same room.
The project takes place at Hyperbat, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles. The company’s engineers can work simultaneously on a 1:1 scale digital twin of an EV battery.
They can immerse themselves in virtual tasks that mimic real life thanks to renders made with NVIDIA GPUs, RTX virtual workstation software and NVIDIA CloudXR technology. The digital transformation results in reduced inefficiency and faster design processes.
Working in a new reality
The Hyperbat team, in collaboration with BT, Ericsson, the GRID Factory, Masters of Pie, Qualcomm and NVIDIA, has developed a proof of concept that uses VR to enable collaborative sessions.
Using a digital twin with VR provides greater clarity during the design process. Engineers everywhere can work together to effectively identify and correct errors during the vehicle battery design process, making projects more cost-effective.
“This digital twin solution at Hyperbat is the future of manufacturing,” said Marc Overton, director of Division X, part of BT’s Enterprise business. “It shows how a private 5G network can provide the basis for a whole host of new technologies that can have a truly transformative effect in terms of collaboration, innovation and speeding up the production process.”
See Hyperbat’s system in action:
Masters of Pie’s collaboration engine, called Radical, delivers a real-time expanded reality (XR) experience that allows design and manufacturing teams to freely interact with a 3D, life-size model of an electric vehicle battery. This gives the Hyperbat team a single source of truth for every project – no need for countless iterations.
The 5G-enabled VR headset, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform, gives the team a untethered experience that can be launched with just one click. Specifically designed to address all the challenges of extended reality, it requires no lengthy installation, nor the import and export of data. Designers can put on their headset and get started right away.
Speed is the key
The ultra-low latency of 5G, deployed using an Ericsson radio and private 5G network at Hyperbat, provides faster speeds and more reliable connections, as well as instant response times.
The combination of 5G with the cloud and XR removes inefficiencies in design processes and speeds up production lines, improvements that could greatly benefit the wider manufacturing sector.
and using Project Aurora — NVIDIA’s CloudXR and RTX Virtual Workstation software platform for XR streaming at the edge of the 5G network — large amounts of data can be processed quickly on remote computers before streaming to VR headsets with ultra-low latency.
Innovation on a new scale
AI is reshaping almost every industry. VR and augmented reality provide windows for AI in the industry and new design possibilities, with 5G making the technology more accessible.
“Hyperbat’s use case is another demonstration of how 5G and digitization can really boost the UK economy and industry,” said Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK and Ireland. This technology “can really increase efficiency and help us innovate on a whole new scale,” she said.
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