After two and a half years of intensive research in the field of virtual reality (VR), two impressive presentations at ‘Emschergenossenschaft’ concluded the highly successful research project VR2WEB. Sponsored by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project focused on implementation of interactive virtual immersive web conferencing - a multi-user environment in virtual reality, which enables stakeholders of a construction project across different locations to meet in a virtual 3D model and discuss challenges of planning.
A major step for successful delivery of the research project on the part of HOCHTIEF ViCon was the development of practice-oriented applications, to enable application of VR in construction industry in the first place. Besides variant studies for sampling or furnishing, planning and coordination meetings can be held using VR for example. As special highlights, implementation of various training scenarios (e.g. maintenance processes) and simulation of the evacuation of a pumping station were demonstrated, which can be practiced even prior to building completion by means of VR.
For implementation of these use cases, suitable functions for the VR environment had to be realized and provided as interaction patterns first. In addition to the error- and loss-free transmission of BIM information contained in the planning model into virtual reality in the first instance, methodologies have been developed to retrieve this information in a user-friendly manner. Furthermore, other functions – e.g. integration of live sensor data and native point clouds – will be made available in further, practice-oriented use cases.
The research project was successfully completed by piloting two large infrastructure projects of Emschergenossenschaft. However, feedback and ideas from ongoing projects will be considered for optimization and further development, to provide Virtual Reality (as well as Augmented Reality) as an additional service to our customers in the upcoming months.
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