This story is from the category Business
Date posted: 04/10/2008
Ford engineers are outdoing the need for prototypes by employing VR. Engineers at Ford have adapted the technology that Hollywood used in movies, such as The Polar Express and Beowulf, to shave about six months off the development of the Ford Flex crossover vehicle.
The technology, found in Ford's Immersive Virtual Reality lab, allows engineers to view vehicles inside and out, while moving and at rest - without building a prototype.
That allows engineers to see whether a vehicle connects with drivers, says Pat Schiavone, Ford's truck and SUV design director.
"We can understand it from a person's perspectives, rather than what analytical tools tell us," says Elizabeth Baron, an advanced visualisation technical specialist who carried out Ford's virtual reality program.
The Programmable Vehicle Model at the Immersive Virtual Reality - or iVR - lab can simulate the change at the touch of a button.
The model is an adjustable compilation of seats, steering wheel, pedals, dashboard and doors, covered with fabric fasteners for attaching door baskets or navigation systems.
By coupling the model with virtual reality technology, engineers can feel the heightened beltline while watching the interior of a Ford vehicle through a virtual reality headset. Technicians can enter the virtual reality data of a vehicle model in a single day.
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