Nvidia BMW Group rolls out Omniverse

Nvidia builds out its Omniverse ecosystem to support the automotive metaverse

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Nvidia Corp.’s hyper-realistic real-time 3D graphics collaboration and simulation platform Omniverse got a number of improvements and partnerships today during its virtual GTC conference to support automotive manufacturers and the industrial metaverse.

Nvidia Omniverse acts as a “metaverse” simulation platform for developers, artists and engineers to visualize and generate 3D models of projects. They act and react as they would in the real world inside virtual worlds so developers can build and test and build anything they imagine. That allows engineers to recreate anything from cars, airplanes, factories and more all within virtual environments. These environments can also be mapped onto the physical world and teams can collaborate anywhere in the world.

The platform can work especially well for automakers, which digitize every part of the process of making cars from building factories to making cars, which can be highly collaborative processes. By allowing teams to connect together with 3D models that simulate everything from design to large-scale physically accurate virtual worlds, it can open up opportunities that didn’t exist before.

To make collaborating easier, Nvidia announced that it has selected Microsoft Corp.’s Azure as its first cloud partner for Omniverse Cloud, its platform-as-a-service software solution for Omniverse. That will give enterprise users access to full-stack of its software in the cloud and Nvidia’s powerful OVX server infrastructure on demand to fully digitize and collaborate anywhere in the world.

“Every manufactured object, from massive physical facilities to handheld consumer goods, will someday have a digital twin, created to build, operate and optimize the object,” said Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive of Nvidia. “Nvidia Omniverse Cloud is the digital-to-physical operating system for industrial digitization, arriving just in time for the trillions of dollars of new EV, battery and chip factories that are being built.”

Automotive makers embrace Omniverse

Huang said Omniverse Cloud has become a powerful platform for automotive manufacturers to enhance their engineering pipelines for designing and creating cars, building factories and more.

Lotus Cars Ltd., the makers of iconic British sports cars, has used Omniverse to help build digital twins of its factories to assist with optimizing its manufacturing processes, such as virtually assemble welding stations. Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Ltd. uses the software to train artificial intelligence models and control algorithms for real-world driving scenarios more quickly. This way the company can iterate on machine learning algorithms for self-driving cars much faster than having them drive on real-world courses, putting working smart cars onto test courses in a fraction of the time.

BMW AG was one of the first car makers to adopt Omniverse to build a smart factory from the ground up and announced today that it will put the concept into production worldwide. The first factory that will be fully operational using digital twins and operating alongside the metaverse will be the planned electric vehicle plant in Debrecen, Hungary. It will start operations in 2025.

Although physical operations may take years to come online, the virtual digital twins of these factories are already up and running inside Nvidia Omniverse. By having access to the digital twins, the engineers and planners of the new factories will be able to lay out, design and understand how all of the moving parts will work even as they’re being built – and even after they’re up and running. This is the power of digital twins and the industrial metaverse, which provides high-fidelity simulation of how it will work in the real world in order to head off problems before they arise.

“Nvidia Omniverse has given us an unprecedented ability to design, build and test complex manufacturing systems, which means we can plan and optimize a next-generation factory completely virtually before we build it in the physical world,” said Milan Nedeljković, board member for production at BMW. “This will save us time and resources, increase our sustainability efforts and improve operational efficiencies.”

Omniverse experience improvements and updates

In addition to Nvidia’s partnership with Microsoft in the cloud, Omniverse will be coming to a number of the company’s productivity tools such as Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint. That will allow users to collaborate more easily in an environment they’re already used to and shift into and out of virtual 3D worlds using Omniverse. That will make it easier to shift directly from a Teams meeting into a 3D session to work on a model and share assets across OneDrive, for instance.

The company also announced a number of core updates to the platform, including improved developer experience that will send them automated updates. There’s also next-level digital realism for skin on virtual humans and other materials, as well as performance updates for massive virtual worlds with lots of objects so that they can be optimized to run faster and interact more quickly.

With new generative artificial intelligence updates, Omniverse also includes a text-to-materials and text-to-code extensions that allows users to enter prompts that will automatically generate high-quality materials and models from a text prompt using AI. Users will be able to type in text and the AI will add models and code directly to their scenes. Users will also be able to experiment with AI-generated inputs directly from technology such as ChatGPT to provide data to Omniverse extensions, by being able to type in text and have it control some experiences such as Camera Studio, which generates and customizes cameras in Omniverse.

Image: Nvidia

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