Future concepts, spacewalks and drone deliveries: Airbus launches fleet of hands-on VR experiences

Aeronautics and space manufacturer Airbus yesterday released five new multi-user VR (virtual reality) experiences at Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) in the UK.

Known for producing the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the A380, Airbus teamed up with immersive technology specialist Render to show off its expansive and diverse range of projects through VR, including future aircraft concepts, drone-based deliveries, and even a virtual spacewalk mission.

The five new VR experiences focus on a multi-user functionality, allowing up to five individuals to participate at once, marking an “industry precedent”, according to the group.

“We’ve worked really hard to push the boundaries of what’s possible in VR,” said Mark Miles, CEO at Render.

“We have doubled down our focus on delivering the highest possible quality photo real and cinematic experience. Product accuracy is absolutely vital too; I believe this is our best work to date.”

In one scenario, users can experience a spacewalk around he International Space Station (ISS) on a mission to install a payload on the Bartolomeo platform, while feeling like they are wearing space suits, helmets and gloves, enhanced further with visual and sound effects designed to mimic real-life.

“At FIA 2018, Airbus is harnessing new technologies to present our products in unique and engaging ways,” commented Paul Hannah, the company’s creative director of future concepts.

“VR is changing how Airbus can engage with its customers, enabling our customers to experience Airbus like never before.”

Partnering with companies such as Intel and Scan Computers, Render specialises in designing VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) products for companies including Airbus, MSA and Ultra Electronics.

Applications for these virtual experiences span sales & marketing, training and product development for its clients.

Earlier this month, international airlines Emirates launched a web-based VR experience for customers, allowing them to tour the luxurious cabins of its A380 aircraft, and even purchase seats within the app.

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