Bell designed its latest helicopter 10 times faster with VR

Bell designed its latest helicopter 10 times faster with VR

Summary

Creating a new model of helicopter takes a long time. Usually between 5 and 7 years old. US aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas challenged its innovation team to speed up this process and they brought in virtual reality. A real success since the VR allowed the manufacturer to design the FCX-001 in just 6 months. Update on this leap forward very economical in time and money.



Bell designed a new helicopter in just 6 months using VR

A case study published jointly between Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and HTC shows that the creation of the last helicopter model of the American firm took only 6 months whereas it took until now between 5 and 7 years to design a new model. When building a new model, the company typically explored multiple iterations. Between the preliminary drawings, the focus groups and the pilot tests, it took several years and a significant investment to come out with a working prototype.

Virtual reality has significantly accelerated the process by replacing physical models and prototypes with digital creations transferred to Unity in order to be able to visualize and modify the prototype in real time. Bell engineers worked with an HTC Vive and virtual models. According to the company, the gain is therefore considerable. 6 months instead of several years and an estimated saving of several million dollars or even several tens of millions. In addition, Bell assures that virtual reality is of great help during sales. The manufacturer is now thinking of integrating VR into training and maintenance as well.





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