Volkswagen Group Accelerates 3D Data Preparation and Remote Rendering for VR on AWS
Global automotive manufacturer Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen) is building virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications to save time, reduce costs, and improve performance for use cases across the product lifecycle, from design reviews and training simulations to remote guidance in the factory. In its efforts to scale AR/VR, Volkswagen needed a faster, simpler, and more efficient way to prepare and deliver 3D content across its organization. The company developed a cloud architecture on which it can accomplish two things: automating its 3D data preparation pipelines for faster and simpler optimization of 3D models and testing the ability to remotely render and stream 3D graphics to AR/VR headsets, moving away from headsets constrained by a tether to expensive workstations.
To achieve this, Volkswagen is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to migrate specific VR rendering and 3D data optimization workloads to the cloud. It’s also using a custom application, called Innoactive Portal, that was developed alongside VR software company Innoactive to deploy and manage VR applications. Using several AWS services, including Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)—a fully managed container orchestration service that makes it simple to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications—Volkswagen is making its 3D data preparation pipeline more efficient and increasing its rendering power and speed in the cloud.
It’s simple and effective for us to use AWS because there are so many native services that support our goals and architecture drafts.”
Product Owner, Volkswagen Digital Realities Hub
Overcoming VR Challenges by Optimizing in the Cloud
To overcome this challenge, the company began redesigning its architecture in 2021 to focus on two initiatives: optimizing its data preparation pipeline to reduce the density of 3D data that devices must render and offloading near-real-time rendering workloads to the cloud to provide users with more processing power, availability, and flexibility. Volkswagen had previously used AWS services and knew that AWS could support its hardware needs—for example, dedicated GPUs for VR workloads on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure, resizable compute capacity to support virtually any workload. “AWS provides a huge variety of GPUs on Amazon EC2 instances,” says Staude. “We can always pick the right hardware for the occurring workload.”
Volkswagen also implemented the Volkswagen Digital Realities Hub, a VR software management system that it created with Innoactive. Using this VR content management system, Volkswagen can provide users with a catalog of available applications that support various use cases and better manage the data pipeline from storage to application.
Accelerating 3D Data Preparation and VR Rendering on AWS
Meanwhile, replacing large, expensive on-premises workstations with agile cloud computing removes major roadblocks to VR adoption. Volkswagen is testing its ability to perform rendering in the cloud using Amazon EC2 G4 Instances, powered by NVIDIA T4 GPUs. Amazon EC2 G4 Instances are cost-effective GPU instances for machine learning and graphics-intensive applications and provide scalable GPU performance in the cloud. The company’s proof-of-concept system can stream pixels directly to VR devices in near real time using NVIDIA CloudXR, an AR/VR streaming protocol. “Using this solution, we wouldn’t have to do any processing on premises anymore,” says Staude. “We could just stream the application from a powerful compute cluster on AWS.”
The scalability of AWS services means that Volkswagen can seamlessly scale down when needed. This also applies to Volkswagen’s backend storage and 3D asset management. The company uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)—an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance—to make its 3D data highly available to devices at all its locations. Using a combination of powerful Amazon EC2 instances, flexible container performance, scalable cloud storage, high-performance streaming, and Innoactive’s software, Volkswagen is working to make VR technology more accessible to its employees and reduce the time and costs associated with 3D rendering. “It’s simple and effective for us to use AWS because there are so many native services that support our goals and architecture drafts,” says Jan-Paul Brückmann, product owner for the Volkswagen Digital Realities Hub. “Everything is clear about using the services and building applications on AWS.”
Planning for Cross-Reality Innovations in the Cloud
On AWS, Volkswagen is preparing for a future in which its employees can access historically complex AR/VR technology with ease, empowering them to use VR environments that improve productivity and collaboration from any device—anywhere and at any time.
About Volkswagen Group
Benefits of AWS
- Accelerates 3D rendering
- Accelerates 3D data preparation
- Reduced costs of compute and storage
- Increased employee productivity
- Improved infrastructure scalability
AWS Services Used
Amazon EC2 provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.
Amazon S3 is an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.
Amazon ECS is a fully managed container orchestration service.
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