Hyundai Motor introduces the Meta-Factory at CES 2022
One of the first stepping stones in realizing that vision is likely to be the construction of a virtual factory built in a metaverse space. The Meta-Factory will be a digital twin of Hyundai Motor's actual factory existing in the physical world.
Hyundai Motor formed a partnership with San Francisco's Unity Technologies at CES 2022 on Jan. 6, where the two agreed to develop a metaverse platform and build these factories.
The partnership's first project will be establishing a digital twin version of Hyundai Motor's factory and innovation hub in Singapore scheduled to complete construction by the end of the year.
The seven-story Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (Hmgics) is expected to be the Korean carmaker's first center that oversees not only research, development and manufacturing but also ordering and delivery of vehicles to customers.
"With the construction of world-class Meta-Factory, the Hmgics will become a 'game changer' in the field of manufacturing innovation," said Chi Young-cho, president and chief innovation officer at Hyundai Motor.
Not only traditional cars, but even flying cars and drones are expected to be tested at the rooftop space of the center when it is completed this year.
The Hmgics Meta-Factory is scheduled for completion in the virtual world by 2025.
The carmaker expects the Meta-Factory to enhance the operation efficiency of the physical version.
For example, car factories in the real world need to test run their facilities before starting the production of a new model. It is to check the optimal operation rate of the facilities as well as to see if there is any issue in the manufacturing process. With the Meta-Factory, this part of the process can be done virtually with higher efficiency.
If any problem should take place at the physical factory while in operation, its cause and solution can be analyzed on the virtual platform as well, saving time and effort for the employees because there is no need to physically visit the location.
Hyundai Motor with Unity plans to not only work on metaverse technology but also collaborate on artificial intelligence and autonomous driving simulation.
"Real-time digital twins will permanently change how we live, work, shop and make a positive impact on our planet, representing a significant component of what is often referred to as the metaverse," said John Riccitiello, chief executive at Unity.
"Hyundai's vision for the future, including the digital twin of factory operations, represents a significant technological step forward in manufacturing with unlimited potential in its efficiency."
Merging metaverse technology into auto manufacturing has been the latest trend among global automakers.
Mercedes-Benz also implemented virtual reality technology when developing its Vision EQXX electric concept model which was introduced on Jan. 3. By testing the vehicle in a virtual environment, Mercedes-Benz said it was able to finish the development process of the model within 18 months.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]