Future of Smart Mobility is brighter than you think: In conversation with Unity Technologies

Express Drives interacted with Unity Technologies in order to understand what all the brand is doing in the automotive sector to benefit the end customer. Anumukonda Ramesh, Country Manager for Unity Technologies, India and Sharatchandra Aithal, Field Engineer, Unity Technologies answer our questions.

By: | Updated: November 10, 2019 7:34 PM

Unity Technologies is powering the future of car buying experiences, helping car dealerships reduce inventory and increasing attach rates for dealer options. Moreover, Unity’s Machine Learning team is taking the game forward to Level 4 and Level 5 Autonomy to make things safer and smarter. Also, Unity’s simulation environment allows OEMs to drive millions of miles in a virtual environment, running 100,000s of scenarios at a time and all this is happening without endangering lives. Unity’s real-time 3D development platform gives OEMs the power to innovate and deploy Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) for the next generation of vehicles. Express Drives got into an interaction with Unity Technologies in order to understand what all the brand is doing in the automotive sector to benefit the end customer. Anumukonda Ramesh, Country Manager for Unity Technologies, India and Sharatchandra Aithal, Field Engineer, Unity Technologies join us for the interaction.

Unity Technologies is already working on the future of car buying experience and with the help of Unity, Lexus has already given prospective customers the liberty to experience LC500 in virtual reality before it was actually available in real. So we want to understand are you working at present with any of the OEMs to offer this experience to the more price concerned buyer instead of a luxury car buyer, especially in India?

We at Unity are more like the software layer, the engine which enables people to create content and if the world is a better place with a lot of creators into it. The Lexus example that you're mentioning got into the limelight of the press because of the brand and the global visibility of it. But today when I look at a lot of independent Unity developers do similar stuff or lot of let’s say in the auto space where they help in pre-visualizing, visualizing as well as ability to give customer insights in what they're getting in terms of not only the parts but scenarios where an OEM manufacturer supplies to the main guy. We have heard multiple use cases where we have Unity center of excellence partners like the creators, four of them, which includes TATA, L&T, Tech Mahindra, CHRP and we see these developers going and developing materials of product visualizations and presenting it.

And today we see a lot of Implementation happening on the ground and these are non-exclusive branded experiences. When I use the brand experience of some Project X or project XYZ like a project code and even before the car is branded as one model. So I do not have any specific brands code, but we see a lot of youth use Unity or product visualization across multiple OEMs and multiple manufacturers.

Also Read: Car buying and selling experience to change forever: Unity Technologies

So moving on, Unity has recently collaborated with some of the big players in terms of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. So in what ways you think this will benefit the OEM’s in developing autonomous driving systems?

From an autonomous vehicle design perspective during 2016-17, we have done serious investment work with the University of Barcelona and University in Canada, where we have done deeper investment in terms of doing call zero vision like one hundred percent safety and exhilaration. These projects have given us access to other cases in a variety of autonomous vehicles. Those use cases give the ability to integrate machine learning in terms of car driving in this environment and the third broader use case is partnered with companies which does HMI (Human Machine Interface). Just to throw more insight on all the three broad use cases over three years. Our partnership with Academia and industry has bought insights in these cases in terms of having computer vision, Internet of things, Unity being the primary rendering in. And we do have a lightweight rendering engine, which is called Project Time.

I think you are referring to simplest was on DH introduced Unity with that as well. It is about your scope in autonomous driving in Actualization of Autonomous Driving, in which the cars by themselves learn a lot before they actually go into production. And a lot of things like machine learning, deep learning in place is helping out as well. As Ramesh mentioned artificial intelligence, connecting it with things like a computer vision is definitely helping out a lot of places. So this helps in triggering safety precautions and kick in when the actual human doesn't put on the brakes and it can actually brake a vehicle when it finds something in front of the computer vision.

So the things that have that you know, people are dwelling into and trying to bring out into the public has there is something that is really cool, because a lot of industries have been using it. Not just the automotive, but since Unity by itself internally has a lot of things that is with 3D, 2D as well. So existing UI systems that are being utilized by these OEMs so that they can prototype and build out products much faster and better.

Now moving on to the autonomous vehicle simulation area, Unity is working in that direction as well, so I want to understand - Is the company doing anything for driving schools? Are you guys doing something for the driving school in India in order to make the people learn driving a better and safer way and a more engaging way?

When I see the way how driving schools function in India. Yes, that is a very different use case then how I can get a driving license in the US. The scenario where I see it could fit in is as we evolve our driving simulation test who are simulated which are used by the Transportation Department and we get to see active implementation in that space at this point of time. So being a company that focuses on simulation for driving mode, it's all about the right partners that we get on board that can actually help out the driving schools in bringing these applications. Your question is very interesting because having a car game, that's the best way to start driving. There is a huge prospect in this area but we're just like 6 months old and we're seeing multiple use cases coming in so far in the driving space from the Indian government which we have not got, but are prospecting a few agencies.

Like again talking on this particular area. When are you planning to join hands with the new OEM’s or driving schools?

We have a very dedicated focus to India in the said space and we are currently open for discussions on this.

Talking of Unity’s simulation environment that allows OEMs to drive millions of miles virtually, how do you think it is a key step not just in cost-saving but also in the better development of the vehicle?

The way we measure how we're supporting our end users gets not only just by the return on investment on saving in dollars. We company has our core principles and we focus on our users. But what we look at is apply a translation of optimizing the workflow and disruption, and disruption comes from the way how we democratize the whole development lifecycle. Just an example last year we were at the GDC and we do have what we call AR/VR/MR and the XR in such ways we did have an open project and its ability to do, create content being in VR. And today we have this as an open, collaborative project where we have more than 10,000 researchers taking this new version of XR, and this is a year old.

Would you like to elaborate a bit on Unity for automotive HMI which is the human-machine interface and what Unity Technologies is doing to make human-machine interaction smoother for a better experience for the end consumer?

So unity on the HMI Space is brand new and is being used by a couple of OEM’s already. First, by a company they've built their whole HMI system within there are using/built on top of unity. So, if I look at, you basically have a lot of things inside the system in the car, which has a mixture of both 2D content and 3D content coming and this data that is coming on top of the screens again is just so, you know, pushing it towards being much easier approach for people to prototype. You can actually build your end applications before putting at Unity because we have a lot of things that let you connect with IoT cases. So, you connect to the cloud lets say, systems that do computer vision, all of it can be interconnected software that can drive your whole ecosystem.

What are the main challenges that you see in the Indian market?

I would see every challenge is an opportunity. In terms of existing product lines, there is a way to do, change management and change management in technology could be done in a much more efficient manner. Then, if you need to do change management thing to a standard operating procedure which involved eighty percent of the kinds and on factory or shop, these are Universal challenges and India is no exception in that and the way to look at these challenges is to enable a powerful way of helping the customer. And when I use the word, helping the customer at his side is bring demos that things are done elsewhere in the world. But you have taken an initiative to set professional support or a successful team because we call it professional services, or professional support teams, who meet at the customer location on demand and help them walk the talk of the Industry transformation before the final point.

So we look at this challenge as an important challenge globally and the way we are addressing this challenge is by taking a dedicated approach of offering professional services or professional technical support services on time to customers. And that's one of our initiatives in India just to go ahead. And as a team believing also is enabling success for our clients and how deep in approach is basically. We do customer workshops, we do talks, and we do master classes that help them in bringing them up to the speed compared to the general quality as outside. So that thing that is one challenge that we're definitely facing is to get up to speed to what is happening outside.

Looking at the massive size of the market, do you also see that as a big challenge or a big opportunity?

Looking at the massive size of India, the challenge is to be present physically more as a challenge, and the opportunity comes in a way where Unity helps to support AR, VR, MR and do this as a remote collaboration. So what is the ability is to open the market and enable customers to build their own use cases, and today when I look at India, we see a very focussed market for auto in the Pune belt, in the Chennai auto corridor and North, especially the NCR region. Though India looked like so many different states, I would say four zones for auto and we have taken initiative to have local resources in all these four zones.

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