Hyundai’s deceptive ploy to design its cars around the world

VR allows studios in Korea, USA, China and Europe to work together on the same project, playing with distances and time differences. Explained with an example Concept Seven, which prefigures the futuristic Ionic 7 model expected for next year on our roads.

The right to visit the manufacturer’s design studio is not granted to everyone. But instead of seeing the prototype cars, the mud models of future models, or the walls of drawings, at Hyundai Europe near Frankfurt, we enjoyed a real… virtual world tour. Kind of metaverse In design mode, it takes on a new dimension with the Korean manufacturer.

“The dedesign has been Hyundai’s number one buying standard for a number of years,” Explains Thomas Burkel, the designer in charge of the European studio. The former BMW has been here since 2005, at the helm of a studio that has grown from 10 to 70 people now, signing series models such as the i10, i30, Tucson, Santa Fe, N-branded sports models, also as a dozen exhibits.

Big fan of Citroën SM, the German is far from being original digital But he appreciates the potential of the new technologies he co-presented to us with Simon Loasby (Vice President at Hyundai Styling), 10,000 km from Germany, in Korea.

Proximity despite the distance used in their daily work, as if they were literally discussing side by side the details of the bumper or dashboard. “Designers cheat a lot,” T. Burkle laughs. And in order to stick specifically to industrial reality, development models must be very accurate, not forgetting to be as beautiful as possible.

Until recently, design studio techniques went through the stages of classic drawings by hand, then small-scale models for visualizing various projects in three dimensions, followed by lucky draws with scale models. (2.5 tons) and brittle models are taken to the brand’s different studios to get the opinions of the different teams, and a crucial step, the validation of the patterns.

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Hyundai deceptive trick to design its cars around the world

Then the ‘mud model’ is scanned to start working on the digital data for manufacturing. But that was before the advent of the 3D visualization studios that had equipped the brand since 2015. This allowed the design process to go 80% digital. This is a good thing with the arrival of the epidemic, a period during which the concept of the seven was developed in very close cooperation between Germany and Korea.

“It’s not aboutwitty too muchShortening development time that of Discover design maturity earlierthinking inward at an early stage, T. Bürkle explains. The arguments are also better coordination of work, enhanced creativity, reduced costs (-15%), reduced material waste and CO2 emissions.2 It’s reduced with less travel, even if it’s a somewhat more narrative-wide argument for the automaker whose group produced more than 6 million vehicles in 2021.

Virtual XXL Garage

We entered a huge room of 20 x 22 m, purpose-built from 2017, with an investment of 1.5 million euros. A massive wall of 8K LEDs 6.5 meters wide allows for the first visualization of the model, before preparing itself for 3D visualization.

48 Optitrack cameras are distributed throughout the studio to ensure each participant is located, with an ultra-accurate active tracking system. Up to 10 people can be simultaneously around a car in front of them, equipped with an HP Reverb 2 virtual reality headset and an HP onboard computer with an Nvidia 2080 in a backpack that’s a hell of a seat belt.

Once equipped, we move into a virtual world that takes a bit of getting used to before getting comfortable. The concept of the seven is right in front of us, in real size and walking around the form takes time to adapt. Other journalists are visualized by avatars, just like Simon Loasby giving us a tour around the owner.

With a width of 2,200 pixels per eye, the definition remains relatively clipped, while occasionally small tremors appear in the image when you turn your head. Impressive display all the same, which gets better when approached closely. There, the virtual concept board reveals all the subtleties, and every detail is refined.

Various environments can be expected to put the car in the mood to choose from. In the absence of more realistic sensations? Hyundai teams are developing gloves for a tactile feel.

Hyundai deceptive trick to design its cars around the world

Images of brand chiefs with this gear on their dark suits make them look like weird bugs, but beware, it’s in this outfit that the crucial decisions are made now, in this type of design. Simon Loasby always carries with him a complete kit that allows you to indulge him, which he calls his James Bond kit: an anonymous backpack that holds the computer and helmet, and allows him to do a design review at Starbucks Airport!

Interior Design

To develop the interior, designers use a different system that uses mixed reality technology. Vario XR-3 helmets are equipped with cameras to visualize the environment around the vehicle (simply embodied by the seats), for example, to be able to see people around you or enter different environments. Vive Pro controllers allow you to work on different elements of the interior, such as opening a pantry or a door for example.

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Again, the picture remains pixelated, but let’s not forget that this is a working tool that focuses on materials, and how quickly they change the system to test different solutions. Here, the data is not in the form of polygons as in games, but directly NURBS (data already ready to build directly) used by Autodesk VRED.

Enough to move forward as quickly as possible in translating the Concept Seven into a production car, with the resulting Ionic 7 electric SUV expected to be on our roads in mid-2023. Based on the Korean group’s 100% electric platform called e-GMP, it’s A large livable SUV (equipped with anti-bacterial materials), with a giant wheelbase of 3.20 metres.

It will have an assertive design, because ionic models tend to stay close to the concepts they advertise, even if the latter are nonetheless…very conceptual. In the meantime, it’s still the true tough concept car that was introduced at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show in the US. We haven’t seen it in real life, but we already know it well in default, like many of the brand’s 600 or so designers from around the world.


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Frank Mccarthy

<p class="sign">"Certified gamer. Problem solver. Internet enthusiast. Twitter scholar. Infuriatingly humble alcohol geek. Tv guru."</p>

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