To reduce reliance on the creation of expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes, automotive manufacturers are beginning to test the effectiveness of virtual components in their build processes. A virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) environment is increasingly helping teams design in a collaborative fashion.

In a webinar titled Next-Generation Design for Automotive and Transportation Industries, a reader had the following question for Dave Lauzun, VP, Automotive and Transportation Strategy, at the simulation and manufacturing giant Siemens PLM Software.

How will the use of AR and virtual parts impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers, such as PCB manufacturers, in prototyping and production?"

Read Lauzun’s response and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Dave Lauzun: AR and VR really will impact all manufacturers up and down the value chain, specifically to PCB manufacturers. One of the challenges of PCBs is that they are so small. They are micro devices. With the virtual and augmented reality tools, however, you can bring these up and really examine them in full 3D.

Combine that with thermal analysis, and watch how the heat transfer is happening throughout the part. Combine that with fluid analysis, and actually see how the fluid flow is moving in and around the part. You can run through a manufacturing sequence in a full virtual reality and see the design come to life in 3D. There are a lot of excellent opportunities you can combine with VR and AR to make any product come to life, from the very smallest parts to largest components we produce in the automotive industry.

What do you think? Will augmented reality and virtual reality impact automotive design? Share your thoughts below.