Airbus Leverages VR in Showing Off Its Futuristic Portfolio
Lane Long posted on August 28, 2018 |
At the Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus unveiled five separate multi-user VR experiences designed to help customers “experience” its products digitally before trying them in real life. (Image courtesy of Render.)
At the Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus unveiled five separate multi-user VR experiences designed to help customers “experience” its products digitally before trying them in real life. (Image courtesy of Render.)

Held once every two years, the Farnborough International Airshow is among the most important events on every aerospace company’s calendar. Airbus made a particularly big splash at this year’s show when it rolled out five distinct virtual reality (VR) programs to help customers get a better feel for its most cutting-edge products. Each of the five new experiences allows for multiple users to be involved at once, which Airbus says represents an industry first. To deliver top-of-the-line virtual experiences, Airbus partnered with Render, a leader in the space. Together, the companies built simulations based on everything from soon-to-be-released Airbus products to full-scale space missions.

VR and Aerospace Tech: a Match Made in Heaven?

Render prides itself on a relentless fidelity to the real-life circumstances on which its experiences are based. In partnering with a company like Airbus, that commitment shines through.

“Product accuracy is absolutely vital,” said Render CEO Mark Miles. “I believe this is our best work to date.”

For its part, Airbus is sold on the impact VR can have on its ability to drive business growth going forward. Given that many of its most highly anticipated products incorporate cutting-edge, top-secret technology, it’s far from simple to build consumer awareness around what may be in the works at a given time. VR solves that problem by enabling Airbus to simulate an experience that’s true to the core features of a new product without the loss of control inherent in, say, a tour of a live facility.

“VR is changing how Airbus can engage with its customers, enabling our customers to experience Airbus like never before,” said Paul Hannah, Airbus creative director.

Implications for Businesses, Consumers, and Product Development Cycle

The problems associated with exposing consumers to what’s next in an easily digestible format aren’t unique to Airbus. Any number of enterprises operating in tech-heavy fields might stand to benefit from the kind of multi-user experiences Render and Airbus were able to create for last month’s airshow. The untapped potential presented by immersive technologies in the areas of product design and development is particularly exciting. The dynamism that digitally programmable experiences allow should be a game-changer for testing new ideas. Developers, and their customers, can now simulate the experience of using a product under development with mind-boggling realism. The possibilities this could unlock in terms of rapid iteration are intriguing, as both Airbus and Render can now attest.

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