Audi's electric car, the e-tron GT, was the first model that the brand realized in a completely virtual environment and without any physical prototypes.

The Audi e-tron GT was the first Audi model to be planned without any physical prototype. Behind this success are many technical innovations such as three-dimensional building scanning, automatic learning processes and virtual reality. The procedures and all assembly processes have been tested and optimized down to the last detail in real-life virtual spaces. 3D scanner and virtual environment make planning business processes more efficient and sustainable.

Virtual planning done

All questions related to the problems that employees may encounter during their duties and work were answered completely in virtual environment during the production planning process of the Audi e-tron GT. All steps were tested in digital environment via virtual reality. Every detail in the production area has been precisely modeled and scaled. 3D scanners with special hardware and software made a virtual replica of the production facility with all equipment, tools and shelves.

3D scanners are used

A scanner hardware is in place to model the production facility. This equipment, which is approximately 2 meters long and mounted on four wheels so that employees can move around, includes a LiDAR (Light Detection and Distance Determination) unit, three extra scanners and a camera. When scanning a space, two processes are carried out simultaneously: The wide-angle camera takes the photograph of the space, the lasers measure it meticulously and produce a three-dimensional point cloud of the environment. Thanks to this technology, 250 thousand square meters of production area in Neckarsulm was scanned. The production of points, images, data and making them ready for use in existing planning systems were also provided by an artificial intelligence and automatic learning-based software developed by Audi. The photographs were combined to create a three-dimensional photo-realistic space. The software automatically recognizes all objects in the field, such as machines, shelves and systems, and automatically distinguishes and classifies objects with each scan. For example, the system distinguishes between rack and steel beam. The position of the shelf can be changed later in the program and repositioned in the virtual space.

Virtual reality in logistics

The Audi e-tron GT is the first car of the brand in which assembly processes as well as logistics processes are tested completely virtually without using any physical prototype. To achieve this, a virtual model of automobile data, material loading process, equipment, tools and planning processes was created. Thanks to the virtual reality solution and digital modeling realized at Audi, employees from all over the world can access this digital model and monitor digital workers. All planned processes can be experienced and optimized.

In this process, all assembly procedures, such as ergonomic features or the complete arrangement of machines, racks and parts in the assembly line, are defined and tested simultaneously in real time.

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