November 19, 2022
Groupe Renault is the latest automaker to announce major digitalization plans, confirming its entry into the industrial metaverse.
The technology will combine augmented and virtual realities across many platforms, enabling different digital interactions. The industrial metaverse could provide several benefits, including a new marketing opportunity in front of a new audience.
According to Renault, the system will be based on four dimensions covering mass data collection, digital twins, supply chains and advanced technologies. Renault claims that the integration of the metaverse can provide “better visibility of the work environment allowing actors to gain agility and autonomy in decision-making”.
It all starts with data
The data will be collected at all of Renault’s industrial sites, using a mass information capture solution. Physical assets will be modeled as digital twins, with each plant and supply chain getting a real-time replica in the virtual world, existing in its own digitized universe.
All this information will be integrated into an extended ecosystem, encompassing supplier data, sales forecasts, quality information, as well as weather and traffic alerts.
The various technologies that make up Renault’s industrial metaverse will be supported by the company’s “unique” Industrial Data Management 4.0 (IDM4.0) platform. The data is stored on Google’s cloud platform and then fed into the industrial metaverse, which can modify or correct production processes in real time.
A control tower will concentrate information flows, including real-time alerts. This will make it possible to highlight risks or anomalies in transport operations and, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), to propose optimized scenarios for crisis management.
‘Agility and autonomy’
Using AI algorithms and virtual reality (VR), Renault seeks to improve the efficiency of supply chain management and support functions. Renault claims that since 2019, 300 alerts have been detected and 300 production stoppages avoided thanks to IDM4.0.
“This industrial metaverse is unique and allows us to activate hitherto invisible levers of efficiency and performance, for the benefit of people and the environment,” said Patrice Haettel, Director of Industrial Strategy and Renault group engineering.
“Data management at group level allows us to monitor the energy consumption of all our industrial and non-industrial sites in detail, and above all to optimize it in real time when a plant is shut down,” adds Haettel.
Follow a trend
Renault’s entry into the metaverse may look like the plans of a tech company rather than a legendary automaker.
Frédéric Vincent, executive vice president of information systems and digital at Renault, underlined that the objectives of the company’s metaverse are that “all levers accelerate towards a technological company”. Other major manufacturers have also adopted metaverse-related strategies more generally aligned with tech startups.
In June, Hyundai unveiled “object mobility,” giving users control of a “digital twin” to interact with real-life objects, people or pets hundreds of miles away. More generally, the automaker is looking to embrace the growth of autonomous technology by allowing vehicle occupants to access the metaverse and immerse themselves in a different reality while on the move.
Audi recently launched its first fully functional virtual reality application for customer consultation at dealerships. This follows the German company’s plans to introduce VR in-car entertainment from the start-up Holoride to series production.
Earlier this year, British luxury carmaker McLaren partnered with InfiniteWorld, aiming to provide customers with a more in-depth digital experience. At CES 2022, discussions about integrating the virtual landscape into the automotive sphere were also common. Korean automaker Hyundai and automotive supplier Valeo showcased concepts and technologies taking advantage of the ever-expanding concept.
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