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While completely unintentional, we’re pretty sure that this latest collaboration between Volvo and Epic Games may just open up the brand to legions of gamers. The Swedish automaker decided that when next they upgrade the screens and animations that display on the new generation instrument clusters, that the resulting graphics are to be the best available. There’s not a gamer on the planet who hasn’t heard about the Unreal Engine, it’s widely regarded as one of the best ways to ensure premium graphics on digital interfaces. It’s a pretty good way to expose the Volvo brand to millions of fans of one of the most popular games in existence - Fortnite. It’s guaranteed that every single one of them and their friends has seen news of this collaboration, and told their friends about it too. So over and above the creation of a premium product, free advertising is just par for the course. Clever.      

By having the clever chaps from Epic Games on board to tweak and fiddle with their Unreal Engine, it means that Volvo Cars is able to offer its customers the best possible user experience when it comes to the digital screens used in their various models. This Unreal Engine allows Volvo Cars to bring the most amazing photorealistic visualisation technology into its next generation of electric cars to provide unparalleled high-quality graphics inside the cabin. As said, Epic Games is at the top of its game, and while best known for the ridiculously popular game, Fortnite, the most advanced real-time 3D creation tool can be utilised in various industries if the right minds are left to put proper thought into it.

With the amount of vehicles relying on digital screens these days, it’s no wonder it took an automaker to figure out a collaboration like this, yet Volvo Cars is the first European carmaker to use the Unreal Engine for the development of the Human Machine Interface (HMI). It will initially focus on the Driver Information Module (DIM), one of the main displays inside the cabin that provide the driver with relevant information and infotainment features. Next-generation Volvo Car customers will be presented with impressive, high-quality graphics with sharper renderings, richer colours and brand new 3D animations. Then, by coupling the Unreal Engine with the power of the 3rd-generation Snapdragon® Cockpit Platforms, new standards in graphics and infotainment system performance will be set. The infotainment system will be more than twice as fast as before, while graphics generation and processing should be up to ten times faster.

"To offer our customers the best possible user experience and contribute to a safe and personal drive, we need rich, immersive and responsive visualisation inside our cars," said Henrik Green, chief product officer at Volvo Cars. "Running Unreal Engine in our cars enables this and makes it even more enjoyable to spend time inside a Volvo."

“When you bring interactive, high-resolution graphics running in real-time into the car, you open the door to a vast range of new ways to inform and entertain everyone inside,” said Heiko Wenczel, Epic Games’ Director of Automotive and HMI for Unreal Engine. “Volvo Cars’ deeply talented design and product development teams have grasped this opportunity to do something fresh that will keep evolving with exciting new features that take advantage of the capabilities of Unreal Engine.” 

The first Volvo model to benefit from this tech colab will be the all-electric flagship revealed later this year.

Take a look at the YouTube video that shows how technologies from automakers and software developers can combine to make amazing advances in the automotive sphere: Volvo Cars’ path to zero collisions | Spotlight | Unreal Engine | Unreal Engine

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