How Gulfstream uses AR and VR to collapse design time and unleash customer creativity

FINN talks to Sheryl Bunton, CIO, Gulfstream, about how the company is using augmented, virtual and informed reality to get closer to the customer.

Gulfstream is using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and informed reality (IR) across the business.

Sherly Bunton, CIO, Gulfstream, told FINN: “I'm pretty sure we're ahead of a lot of folks [in the aerospace industry]. But at the same time, we have the customer that demands that sort of experience so it's our obligation to do that.”

Immersive cave

One application is in the sales and design phase, where AR, VR and IR can help bring products to life for customers.

“For example, we have a light floor where you can walk out onto an [AR] floor that's the size of a G650. Then we have a matching application where your designer can work with you to pick fabrics and layouts. You can walk through physically without any additional device."

Gulfstream also has an 'immersive cave' which Bunton describes as a "full virtual reality environment".

Here, customers can simply tap to rearrange the layout of chairs, galleys, beds etc.

“It’s a really interesting interaction to work in the design space yourself because these are very personal choices that people are making,” Bunton said.

Customer choice

Bunton says these tools and technologies “collapse the design time,” which allows for more iterations and makes more space for customers to change their mind.

Bunton explained: “For example, we introduced paint projection, which is another form of augmented reality. If you have a paint scheme in mind for your airplane, we can modify it on the computer screen and it’s projected onto your aircraft. And you can see exactly how wide that stripe is as it bends around the plane. And if you don't like the colour, we can, with a touch of a button, change it.”

She added: “We found that our customers are infinitely creative. And we want to give them the ability to do that with 3D paint projection. They have a lot more flexibility in choosing the design for the exterior of their aircraft.”

Digital transformation

Bunton urged others in the aerospace industry to do more with these technologies.

She said: “[I think] a lot of people are thinking about it but they haven't yet taken the leap. I would encourage people to do that because you only get the benefit when you do the work. The idea doesn't give you any return and the return is more than just money; it's about improving the experience. And that's one of the core foundations of digital transformation, which is what Industry 4.0 [is all about]."

“I encourage people to really explore these ‘alternate realities’,” Bunton added.

“They're very popular in the consumer side of things, it's time to bring them into industry.”

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