ANSYS gets aesthetic with its acquisition of OPTIS
ANSYS just announced that it is acquiring OPTIS, maker of software that simulates light and human vision and, increasingly, solutions that enabled users to visualize real-world effects in a virtual setting. What does that mean? Lots of things. To take just one example, Optis’ Aesthetica is used to create a photo-realistic 3D model of a product and simulates the effects of manufacturing variability, such as deformations and induced gaps. This allows users to find potentially sensitive areas and play with concept models to remove aesthetic problems before they happen. Car companies and other manufacturers do this type of simulation because they understand the importance of perceived quality on purchasing decisions. A dimpled or otherwise less than perfectly smooth car door may not affect car function or safety in any way, but will cause prospective buyers to turn away because they believe that car door imperfection may indicate other, real functional defects. Not good and, with tools like Aesthetica, avoidable.
OPTIS was founded in 1989 with a mission to “bring life and emotion to all industrial projects” and today has more than 2500 clients in over 50 countries. ANSYS press release singles out automotive customers Audi, Ford, Toyota and Ferrari as well Boeing, Airbus, GE, Swarovski and L’Oreal — but its total client list is a who’s who of creative, customer-facing companies that want to digitally prototype how a product will look and sound (yes, they have an acoustic simulation capability, too). Last year OPTIS announced aggressive plans to grow its VXPERIENCE platform, an umbrella for all the company’s virtual reality solutions.
ANSYS, however, seems most interested in OPTIS for sensor development for the autonomous vehicle industry. The deal press release says that the “addition of OPTIS’ capabilities to the ANSYS portfolio will result in a comprehensive sensor solution for the market, covering visible and infrared light, electromagnetics and acoustics for camera, radar and lidar. OPTIS has also developed a photo-realistic virtual reality and closed loop simulation platform, which will help speed the development of autonomous vehicles. Using this VR backbone – combined with other ANSYS solutions – automotive manufacturers can simulate the environment driverless vehicles are navigating, including road conditions, weather and one-way streets.”
OPTIS founder Jacques Delacour adds, “Combining OPTIS’ physics-based solutions for optical simulation with ANSYS’ deep and broad portfolio will be a competitive advantage for our customers and the entire industry. The entire OPTIS family is looking forward to working closely with ANSYS and its impressive customer community around the world.”
ANSYS indicates that the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, and said that it would give further details on the deal, and its impact on ANSYS’ financials, after the closing. Presumably they’ll also give some indication of the price paid at that time.