Ford Australia opened a new virtual design studio that uses the same motion modelling technology used in Hollywood animations to test the interior design of a car before it is built.
Through this technology a car designer is able to sit in a future model up to four years before its launch.
Ford says the technology allows designers and engineers to identify and fix ergonomic and visibility issues before the car is launched, saving time and money.
A helmet with virtual reality goggles and a pair of gloves with motion tracking monitors will enable testers to check the cabin for ergonomics, visibility and positioning of major controls.
Sixteen infra-red cameras located in the studio it builds a three-dimensional image of the driver's hand by reflecting small motion tracking globes on the gloves reports stuff.co.nz
It allows engineers to walk around the car, open the doors and lift the rear door.
At this studio Ford can test the practicality of the cabin for occupants of all different sizes.
The studio is one of only three in the Ford world, but it allows the engineers and designers from around the world to view the cabin on three-dimensional monitors and accordingly ask the driver to execute various functions to test out components.
Ford Australia's chief engineer for digital innovation, Adam Frost, said, "In this virtual world, we can evaluate early vehicle design and it's engineering against a backdrop of virtual conditions and literally experience a complete vehicle years before it is built and a customer drives it out of the showroom.”
The technology can also be used to the factory floor, allowing assembly line operators to perform tasks in a virtual world to see if they are ergonomically friendly.
The president of Ford Australia, Bob Graziano, said, “The studio is a demonstration of the growing importance of Ford Australia's design studio in the global organisation.”
He went on to say that Ford's studio in Broadmeadows, Victoria, is one of only three global centres of excellence in Ford, along with head office in Dearborn and Cologne in Germany.
"There's been a lot of focus on manufacturing – but here is where it all begins, the smart design and technical development that culminates in vehicles that are sold around the world,” added Graziano.
Ford reports of its centre's design staff tripled in the past 18 months with the centre being called upon to lead the design of global vehicle platforms.