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Virtual Exploration GKN Aerospace (VEGA)

Technology: Virtual Reality Client: GKN Aerospace Keywords: interactive, simulation, Unity 3D, virtual reality

Challenge

For decades GKN Aerospace have aimed at inspiring and industrializing the aerospace industry by combining engineering excellence and technological leadership. GKN Aerospace globally employs 18,000 people in 15 different countries and improve the performance of more than 100,000 flights every day.

In order to maintain a leading position in the industry regarding technological development, GKN Aerospace emphasize a close relationship with universities, knowledge institutions, suppliers, and customers.

However, even though GKN Aerospace have a lot of young visitors at the production facilities, it can sometimes be challenging for the younger crowd, aged 12-18, to fully understand the GKN Aerospace business just by listening to presentations and walk around in the factories. So in order to simplify and streamline the experience of younger visitors, GKN Aerospace wanted to create a full virtual experience to allow visitors to explore how the GKN Aerospace products work in action.

Thus, the purpose of this project was to provide an exciting virtual reality experience which would explain the core of the GKN Aerospace universe, while embracing an interactive approach in order to engage –and spark the interest of young aspiring engineers.

Unity Studios has helped us to shape a product that exceeded all expectations. The Unity Studios team had really succeeded in capturing our ideas which at the time were far from concrete and turned them into something amazing” 

Amanda Dalstam, GKN Aerospace

Solution

GKN Aerospace reached out to Unity Studios as they wanted to develop a virtual reality solution, VEGA, with the purpose of increasing the engagement of young visitors at the GKN Aerospace facilities. VEGA provides an immersive experience of the GKN Aerospace universe, by letting young visitors as well as both internal and external stakeholders explore the GKN Aerospace universe and how the final products work in reality.

When entering VEGA, the user appears to be out in space, with a large rocket flying by. Afterwards the user descends to earth and the GKN Aerospace facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden. After the descend, the user lands inside a large hangar/showroom, with various full-size products, where the user will be completing a series of interactive tasks related to activating various GKN Aerospace products, such as launching a rocket, assemble an airplane jet engine, and display all commercial flights related to GKN Aerospace on a 3D globe.

By using virtual reality the experience becomes highly interactive and intuitive, which creates the optimal conditions for an engaging experience, which is enabled through an HTC Vive headset.

Additionally, besides being a fun engaging tool for visitors, VEGA also provides great opportunities related to communication both internal and external. By showing VEGA to internal employees, they get the opportunity to experience how their individual work contributes to overall projects, which creates an important sense of pride,  as well as in provide great opportunities related to stakeholder presentations.

”Honestly we couldn’t be more happy. We have established a nice personal relation with the Unity Studios team, and we’ve collaborated all the way. I think we realized pretty quickly that Unity Studios always keep what they promise which made our collaboration very smooth and we managed to get things done even though we had a somewhat challenging timeframe.”

– Amanda Dalstam, GKN Aerospace

Adding value to GKN Aerospace 

VEGA is not only being presented to the young visitors who think it is cool to stand by a launching rocket or a full-size airplane but is also being presented to employees across the organization. Thus, VEGA has proven to create value as a communication tool that helps the employees to experience how they contribute to the overall organizational goals, creating an important sense of pride and intrinsic motivation.

Furthermore, as the virtual reality experience enables GKN Aerospace to engage users in the GKN Aerospace universe, VEGA is also being used for public relation -and marketing purposes in order to engage external stakeholders in interactive presentations, which is important as the space program is funded by the Swedish government, which requires GKN Aerospace to do a lot of presentations regarding the importance of being present in space.

Thus, value is not only created to the fact that fewer engineers must take time off to do tours for visitors but mostly for communicating to the world and future talents that GKN Aerospace is a company to remember if you want to make things fly.