New Ford lab enables virtual walk-arounds

New Ford lab enables virtual walk-arounds

FiVE-labFord has unveiled its new Ford immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) lab in Melbourne, which will enable designers to build a full-size virtual car and enable them to perform virtual walk-arounds such as customers will do at dealerships.

Earlier this year, Ford Australia initiated a second round of investment into its virtual reality centre, which was originally launched in 2012.

The overhaul updated the lab’s hardware and software, including a move to new photo-realistic virtual-reality software (VRED), and expanded motion-tracking equipment equivalent to that used in the animation and gaming industry.

The new space is now large enough to amply “fit” an entire virtual car, enabling designers to perform “walk-arounds” and experience the virtual model much like a consumer would experience a car at a dealership.

“Ford was one of the earliest adopters of this type of virtual reality in the development process, and the quality of our new FiVE lab shows how far Ford is willing to go for craftsmanship and attention to detail when designing its vehicles,” says Ford Asia Pacific digital innovation manager Peter Bunting.

Using upgraded computing facilities, new high-definition headsets will deliver a full low-latency stereoscopic 3D experience to users, creating a virtual world with a level of realism previously unattainable in the lab.

“The FiVE lab enables virtual modelling with a whole new level of detail. We can see through and inside the vehicle’s structure to really inspect how it all works together, from the overall architecture to the mechanical and electrical systems,” says Bunting.

So far this year, the technology has been used to verify more than 150000 details on more than 200 virtual vehicle prototypes built in the global FiVE labs.

“Our One Ford plan is to develop vehicles with stronger global appeal,” says Bunting. “This technology helps achieve that goal by assisting our designers and engineers to collaborate in real time on an international scale – while also improving vehicle quality.”

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