Ford to Design Cars With Virtual Reality Sketches
The Ford Motor Company is turning to virtual reality so as to elevate the design of its future cars. The company is planning to use VR sketches to design automobiles that will meet the needs of its future drivers.
According to a Press Release announced earlier this week, Ford is collaborating with the 3D VR tool Gravity Sketch which makes it possible for designers to create car designs in human-scale which will also be more human-centric. Ford’s foray into VR sketches has to do with its desire to put its drivers or customers at the core of the car design process.
Ford’s automobile designers will now rely on a virtual reality room with a complete 3D sketch to design their cars instead of relying on sketchpads. That means designers no longer have to grapple with the chairs, travel pillows, backrests, seat cushions or long hours standing as they work their creative juices to come up with fresh ideas for car models in an old-school style design process.
The vehicle designers will use VR to create a virtual reality vehicle right from the start to the finish, allowing them to adjust the features of the vehicle according to drivers’ perspective within the virtual reality environment. Instead of paper and pens, Ford’s auto designers will now rely on VR headsets and controllers to design real-life cars with the driver at the center-stage of the design process.
The Gravity Sketch VR tool is a significant improvement from the traditional automotive design in terms of both time and efficiency. Designers will have a better throughput, designing cars a lot faster than with the conventional automotive design techniques. The designers will thus take only a few hours to complete very complex automotive designs. Virtual reality sketches will skip the 2D sketch stage where the designer normally has to scan a 2D sketch to generate the illustration. With VR, the designer automatically moves to the 3D models.
Compared to CAD and conventional 2D sketches, virtual reality sketches provide the auto designer with more detail to work with including a fully realizable interior and exterior of the vehicle and a detailed simulation of the vehicle’s mechanical components such as the hybrid powertrain, pushrod-style suspensions, turbocharger piping and the intercoolers.
The software program to be used has been pre-existing but Ford worked with the vendor, Gravity Sketch, to customize its own “Ford version”. The initial deployment at Ford will still be experimental and on a smaller scale with between 40 and 50 Ford employees working on it globally.
Using the Gravity Sketch tool, the auto designer can even anchor a mock driver at the core of the design in virtual reality and then rotate this 3D model to design a scalable automobile with the mock driver at the center of the design endeavor. If the automobile design needs to make additional adjustments, they can simply put on a Vr headset and step into the 3D virtual reality sketch.
The use of this virtual reality tool would make it possible for Ford to deliver the best automobile designs to its customers. The entire process of automobile design will be moved into virtual reality hence creating more options for the designers to review the vehicle models inside a 3D environment. Not only does this simplify the designs but they also allow the automaker to deliver the best possible vehicles to its customers.