SkyReal, child of Airbus, launches next-generation virtual reality to appeal to large groups

It’s a story that ends well, when it started off badly. In 2017 the Réa project, the virtual reality immersion solution developed by Airbus Groupe Innovation, came to a halt. Due to a lack of budget, the aircraft manufacturer decides to lay off the entire subsidiary. This does not stop Hugo Falgarone who takes up the concepts developed to create the startup SkyReal. All this in order to promote an innovative technology of virtual prototyping.

In short, Skyreal aims to be the benchmark in virtual reality for large groups, especially manufacturers. By offering virtual reality in an automatic virtual cave environment (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment). Rather than through traditional glasses.

Virtual reality of warehouses

An automatic virtual environment is a virtual reality immersion in a room where projectors are directed between three and six of the walls of a room-sized cube. Even if the user still wears the famous 3D glasses, the precision and rendering are different, more realistic. Projection systems are generally very high resolution, to erase the pixels. This allows to keep the illusion of reality. And it is precisely by banking on this virtual reality that SkyReal hopes to appeal to large groups. On September 17 in Saint-Nazaire, it had in any case invited the jewels of hexagonal capitalism (Total, Airbus, AKP…) to test its new device.

Conquer the large groups market

The latter are invited to compare the virtual reality experience on a helmet and in a CAVE on part assembly workstation scenarios. Why is this form of virtual reality without a headset more suited to the needs of manufacturers? According to Gregory Duvalet, campus technology advisor, because it “allows operators, or more generally non-IT people, to easily experience on-site operations, with an overview.” He also adds that this solution allows better collaboration between the different businesses. To illustrate his point, he takes the example of a design engineer and an operator. They will now be able to interact easily, having the same reference environment. While they are hundreds of kilometers apart. As a result, customers see definite advantages, although it is difficult to calculate the ROI precisely, he emphasizes. The advisor takes the example of the company Plastic Omnium which, after having used the VR on site, noticed a time saving of “12 to 18 months” on its internal processes.

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Virtual reality thanks to … Fortnite

In order for the CAVE resolution to reach the accuracy of that of the helmet, some adjustments had to be made. Like synchronizing computers (which we have equipped with Quadro Nvidia graphics cards, the most expensive on the market), projectors and mastering very fine tracking technologies. Most importantly, the SkyReal project was made possible by the presence of the Unreal Engine from video game publisher Epic Games. The huge plus is that Epic Game is working on an engine update every month. Because the latter is used to power the Fortnite video game. Fortnite, the desert island battle simulator that is all the rage with teens, is a free online app. And it’s SkyReal’s unmistakable stroke of genius for free and effortless updates. “It’s like 500 engineers are working for us, too, without being asked. “Said the CEO of the company. A huge competitive advantage, especially at the cost of hiring an engineer.

In France, we have no oil but we have ideas, proclaimed an old advertising of the 70s. This is what SkyReal proves, the startup on the way to conquer the market of large groups thanks to numerous innovations, both technical and organizational. Between tech and the country of thousands cheese, the love continues.