Empowering Honda’s designers to create beautiful interactive presentations in 1 day

At the Honda Design Center in Japan, designers need to frequently showcase their vehicle concepts and designs to management to get the green light, but they needed a better way to express “Koto-zukuri” – one of the “Strengths of Honda” focused on creating new experiences and stories around products. Working in partnership with Unity’s professional services team, Honda took advantage of Unity’s extensibility and Unity Scripting API to create a custom, simplified version of the Unity Editor. As a result, designers at Honda who have never previously used the Editor are now empowered to create exceptional interactive presentations of their car designs in a single day.

Based in Wako-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan, the Honda Design Center focuses on developing new concepts and designs for future Honda vehicles and other projects like autonomous robots. The Center’s Automobile Design Division has always been on the cutting edge of utilizing new technologies to improve their design and engineering processes.

Since 2019, Unity has worked with Honda to develop custom Unity Editor tools that enable its design team to easily create interactive presentations for their vehicle designs. Here are the results of this collaboration: 

Accelerated innovation by providing a self-serve, easy-to-use, customizable tool for Honda’s designers to create interactive showcases of their vehicle designs   Empowered designers to save significant time by creating presentations in 1 day rather than outsourcing work to vendors and waiting multiple weeks Enabled the team to better showcase the Honda strength of Koto-zukuri within each design

Seeking a solution to design visualization challenges Empowering Honda’s designers to create beautiful interactive presentations in 1 day - slide02

A presentation at the Honda Design Center. Prior to using Unity, designers created simple real-time visualizations of stationary vehicles, like those shown here. (Image credit: Honda)

Honda’s automotive design team uses computer-aided design (CAD) software to bring their ideas to life. Creating vehicles with superior designs and styles is just one of the team’s responsibilities, however. 

They also need to show how their designs adhere to Koto-zukuri – a Honda strength that means “creating new experiences through brand storytelling about the art of making things.” Every product they present needs to tell a story and show how it adds value to customers.  

Honda’s designers lacked a tool that would enable them to visualize, present, and review Koto-zukuri with management, so they outsourced this work. Vendors would work with Honda’s designers to create high-quality photos and videos of their designs, but this was not ideal for a couple reasons: 

Lengthy production timelines – Designers need to iterate on and present ideas quickly, but vendors often require multiple weeks for production and cannot always make revisions in the requested time. Additional costs – Outsourcing these projects comes out of the team’s budget, and costs can add up through change orders as vehicle designs undergo rapid iterations at the last minute. ‘The best visualization tool’

A presentation made with Unity featuring the Honda e Urban EV, Honda’s zero-emissions electric urban vehicle

Honda turned to Unity to solve these problems in the early stages of design development. “We needed a solution that enabled us to visualize and assess our various ideas easily, in high quality, and at a fast pace,” said Sano Hideki, Automobile Design Division, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Design Center. “Thanks to our collaboration

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