Visualize the future T13 tram line thanks to augmented reality

Thanks to HoloLens 2 and the Azure cloud, large infrastructure projects can now be viewed easily and wherever you are, for easier and efficient decision-making, which Nicolas Ribeyre and Laurent Giraldon introduce us to within SNCF.

When crossing a golf course, a national forest and passing close to inhabited areas, the municipalities, but also institutions such as the National Office of Forests or Architects of Buildings of France, have the right to inspect the workers and request changes as they see fit. for. required. As Ahmed Chibani, Egis Rails project director, explains: “It was important to develop a visualization tool for this future tram line, which would allow all actors to fully understand the route and the planned development.”

Interest in new technologies

It was impossible to produce a physical model to accurately visualize the impact of the route on the environment, both because of the space it would have taken up and the impossibility of moving it, and because of the difficulty of changing it in line with developments. of project. . The alternative? A simple and intuitive communication tool using new technologies.

The choice of HoloLens 2 and the Azure cloud

Engineers are working on BIM files to model the driveway, surrounding buildings and the natural environment. However, these files require specific software to open and are difficult to handle. To address this, a complete holographic model was created, easily accessible via HoloLens 2. As the amount of data needed for this project was extensive, SNCF then selected the Azure cloud for their hosting and the Azure Remote Rendering service for the rendering of model. The development of the solution has been carried out by the company CONSEIL 3D. Ahmed Chibani sees several benefits: The application is available wherever you are. Only HoloLens 2 and an internet connection are required. It is an application in development: the changes are transferred to the developers, who integrate them directly into their files. In just a few hours, changes can be seen in HoloLens 2. It is a great tool for communication and sharing. With HoloLens 2, it is possible to visualize the model, to precisely specify the places that can cause problems. Philippe Barreau, SNCF Operations Pilot, acknowledges that “this immersive approach to the project is fantastic and quite magical. This gives everyone access to information that provides understanding, different views on the project. This collaborative approach provides transparency and enriches the debates”. Philippe Barreau estimates that the use of a visualization tool significantly improves good understanding between partners and will increase customer satisfaction with communication by about 30%. “We often make films to show the project to our partners, but with HoloLens 2 we were able to choose angles and angles, and what we want to show. In addition, additional information in the form of text and images enriches the application. “This allows you to see what already exists, thanks to the images, and what it will be thanks to the model,” Ahmed Chibani specifies. Getting started with HoloLens 2 is very simple and immediate immersion. It is therefore easy for any neophyte to manipulate the model that he finds appropriate. The zoom allows you to achieve a very good level of detail and even see the wild animals cross the bridges and the facilities specially designed for them!

A visualization tool that appeals to engineers

Although this application was designed as a visualization tool for external partners, it was also a great success with the engineers working on the project. The model gives them a better understanding of the project’s deployment in the environment. Ahmed Chibani explains that “some points exist on paper but are clear on the model. A very simple example: the proximity of certain buildings to the line that the engineers had not imagined so close to.” It is a tool that improves their work , “acknowledges Ahmed Chibani.” It is motivating and rewarding. “In the future, new infrastructure projects will benefit from these new technologies. These applications will then be designed both as an optimization tool under design and as a communication tool with external partners.

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