Portfolio

Maintenance training module

Injector repair for B38 engine

Introduction

BMW is known to invest in the latest technologies not only when it comes to manufacturing but also training their staff.

Vires contacted BMW with an offer to introduce VR into the training process.

Together with experienced trainer  Jean-Christophe.Van-Nieuwenhuysen and with support of Belux training manager Charles Deboeck our team developed a Virtual version of the B38 engine fuel injector maintenance procedure.

The concept

The maintenance of the fuel injectors of the B38 engine is one of the most error-prone reparations because of the strict procedure that has to be followed. If the procedure is is not followed step by step with meticulous attention to every detail the car can suffer from short or long term problems.

As a proof of concept for using VR as an additional (enhancing) tool for training maintenance staff, BMW partnered with Vires.

The goal was to implement the procedure as close as possible to real life and to have feedback for each step along the way. This would not only increase the attention of the student executing the tasks but also give the trainer insights of how well the student performs said tasks.

The preparation

A virtual workplace was developed in 3D Studio Max. A combination of models sourced from external parties and custom modelling.

The B38 engine was entirely 3D Scanned (Creaform Handyscan). After a thorough cleanup everything was put together and development could begin.

The execution

The entire application is developed using Unity and targeted for the HTC Vive.
The reporting platform that keeps track of the user’s progress is developed in PHP using the symphony platform.

All parts of the application are developed by 2 developers.

Interaction and UX

During early versions of the application we implemented a step by step mechanism to guide the user through the procedure using highlights and arrows. Along the way the scope of the project shifted to a non-linear and modular system where instead of guiding the user we would give him/her the opportunity to start and execute the different subtasks as he/she would see fit.

The purpose of this shift is to increase the user’s attention and trigger the student to consult the in-game manual just like in real life.

This way of ‘playing’ makes the module more suitable for BMW to assess how well a mechanic can operate independently when faced with certain maintenance situations. Thus the overall learning value increased enormously. Both for student, teacher and BMW.

A step by step procedure is a good tool to learn and rehearse a procedure but in this case the intention is not to memorize the procedure but instead learn the need to consult the manual and follow it’s procedures.

The result

The application was finished in the second quarter of 2018 and installed on two of our custom build computers. This way it’s guaranteed to work 100% of the time while also providing the best user experience (no input or output lag or crashes).

The application has been played by dozens of people ranging from technical staff to management and has been received positively. The application has been presented in the head office of BMW in Munich and was on the shortlist of most innovative developments in the BMW group


Client: BMW Belux
Date: September 15, 2018
Service: VR training