Volvo and Epic Games partner for pioneering real-time 3D HMI

Volvo Cars is harnessing Epic Games visualisation tool to reshape infotainment in an increasingly automated driving experience. By Elle Farrell-Kingsley

Continuously developed since its launch in the 1998 first-person shooter game Unreal, Epic Games' Unreal Engine is a visualisation tool capable of supporting a wide range of applications. In Volvo's case, it will provide hyper-realistic 4k graphics for the infotainment systems in new electric vehicles (EVs). Volvo Cars is the first European carmaker to use the Unreal Engine to develop a Human Machine Interface (HMI). More specifically, it will initially focus on the Driver Information Module (DIM), one of the displays inside the cabin that provides the driver with relevant information and infotainment features which could help develop vehicle autonomy.

Special report: In-vehicle infotainment

The first Volvo model to feature this technology will debut later in 2022, marking the first of a new generation of all-electric models as Volvo shifts to an EV-exclusive line-up by 2030. Epic Games' Director of Automotive, Heiko Wenczel, outlines the upcoming models' key features, including complete multi-user scalability, high-speed two-way cloud communication and integrated data security systems.

In the making

Brought to global attention following the success of the cross-platform video game Fortnite, Epic Games' Unreal Engine already operates across many industries outside video games, including human sciences, architecture, training, and film. "There is no limitation to using real-time visualisation," Wenczel tells Automotive World.  Indeed, the Unreal Engine has found broad applicability within the automotive industry, such as hyper-realistic test drives and rapid virtual prototyping. However, Volvo marks its first use of an infotainment system with a European vehicle manufacturer.

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