Ultimately, the team decided to build their mock-ups in VR, and it had a profound effect on their entire design process. Bell worked with Sector 5 Digital (S5D), an innovative 3D design and production agency, to help design and sketch the initial model, then create the aircraft in 3D using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. The model was then transferred into Unity (a real-time game engine) so the design could be experienced and modified in VR on HTC VIVE.
Rather than having to start with a small-scale model for the initial prototyping, the VIVE enabled Bell’s engineers and test pilots to visualize a full-scale model right from the very beginning. The test pilots could then experience the aircraft as if they were inside an actual model, allowing them to provide faster and more specific feedback.