Ford Motor Co. gives a glimpse in how virtual reality enabled its engineers to collaborate across continents on the design of its new GT supercar.
At the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, a team of designers and technologists showed a small group of journalists and bloggers last week how a NVIS headset and a virtual flashlight enabled them to check fit, finish, craftsmanship, and a many other parameters on a prototype version of the Ford GT supercar.
Ford engineers are able to feel like they’re sitting inside a full-scale model of the car, helping them get a look at the vehicle from the point of view of their customers. Engineers could check forward, side, and rear visibility from the “driver’s seat” and determine if the positioning of the vehicle’s A-pillars could cause problems for drivers.
We look at the perceived quality of the vehicle and we do engineering work,” said Elizabeth Baron, Ford’s virtual reality and advanced visualization technical specialist. “The data we are looking at is the engineering data with the design in it.”
In addition to prototyping at the Ford Immersion Labs, engineers around the world collaborated on the details of the GT through ultra-high-definition “powerwalls” in Germany, China, India, and Brazil.
While sitting in the “driver’s seat” to gather data is very useful, Ford went a step further in their Immersion Lab by allowing engineers to strip out layers of the virtual vehicle in order to see how structural, mechanical, and electrical sub-systems interact with the overall architecture.
This is not the first time Ford has used virtual reality to examine their designs. In 2013, the company’s designers and engineers verified more than 135,000 details on 193 virtual vehicle prototypes. Most notably, it changed side view mirror placement on the Fusion sedan, as well as the dashboard and windshield wipers of the Mustang.
Check the demonstration virtual reality experience of a Ford engineer examining quality, fit, and finish of the Ford GT.
Images via Ford