Virtual Reality

Animated VR Presentation of a Railtrack Repair Vehicle

Challenge

Our customer, an experienced rolling stock manufacturing plant, developed a new high-performance rail track repair vehicle, designed for railway construction, medium to major maintenance, and treatment. Their goal was to introduce an engaging and cost-effective way of getting their potential buyers acquainted with the new product’s key features and capabilities.

The company reached out to OTR to create a detailed 3-D model displaying all of the vehicle’s key and minor components. Apart from getting the stationary visualization, the customer wanted us to demonstrate the vehicle’s crucial functional patterns in a highly realistic operational environment. The key point was showcasing the product’s improvements and advantages for the end-users.

With both requirements in mind, OTR approached the creation of a fully-functional VR railway repair vehicle model, capable of emulating close to real-life performance conditions. Our team was in charge of all the development stages, including design, implementation, testing, and final debugging. On the plus side, we were provided with technical specifications and drawings; however, our customer’s main challenge was quite short on time, with only a single week remaining for the entire process.

Solution: Description and Key Capabilities

SOLUTION:
VR presentation for a rail track repair vehicle
INDUSTRY:
Heavy engineering (rolling stock manufacturing)
TECHNOLOGIES:
С++, Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), VR
METHODOLOGIES:
Agile
PROJECT DURATION:
1 week (project development)
PROJECT TEAM:
1 developer (C++, UE4), 1 3-D Modelling Engineer, 1 PM, and 1 QA

Our mission was to build a VR simulation of the vehicle to both reflect the customer’s initial vision and feature the following options:

High-detail 3-D model based on the actual product’s technical drawings
Realistic surroundings’ modeling (including a crushed stone embankment and rail tracks)
Test area simulation to demonstrate the equipment’s operation under close-to-real conditions
Stats
Creating informative and engaging presentation scenarios appealing to customer’s potential buyers

The key point during the development of the VR solution was to show all the vehicle’s functions, as well as to introduce an all-round systems’ and joints’ visualization combined with the realistic object, environment, and terrain simulation.

Development Approach

Our team negotiated several ways to deal with the final task’s implementation. To emulate the actual vehicle’s performance in various directions and views we decided to go with Unreal Engine 4 as our modeling application, while it allowed us to recreate in full detail the product’s components, environment, rail tracks, and more, to deliver the impeccable interactive experience to the presentation’s onlookers.

The fact that OTR has already had substantial UE4 expertise also guaranteed that we would be able to deliver the best possible performance within the limited time we had available, while the main challenge of this project was not just to design a visually attractive model, but to recreate its capabilities to repeat the systems’ performance in a realistic manner.

Having negotiated several ways of handling all the options at hand, our experts decided to automate systems’ components and functioning based on the available operational technical 2D drawings.

Results

The end-result VR rail track repair vehicle presentation was fully aligned with the customer’s initial technical specs fully compatible with the HTC Vive Pro helmet. It helped deliver a significantly better idea of the product’s characteristics, systems, spheres of application, and performance, unlike when employing the standard spreadsheet-based analysis approach.

The virtual reality presentation helped meet the initial goals, including highlighting the product’s advantages, its track treatment capabilities, easy access to all the main joints and systems while proving to be a much more cost-effective and easy-to-implement solution up against creating a full-size demonstration sample.

The final product became a powerful marketing tool capable of persuading the industry’s professionals and appealing to audiences lacking in-depth technical knowledge, thanks to its highly engaging immersive environment.

When looking at the financial goals, the new VR presentation contributed to cutting on the marketing costs, reducing the sales cycle length by 27%, while showing a 12% increase in buyers’ number compared to the times when the company used to stick to just standard advertising techniques.

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