Referred to as FiVE, Ford's Immersive Vehicle Environment made some significant updates this year. Ford is the the first automaker to use a new ultra high-definition (UHD), virtual reality lab that enables designers and engineers globally to work together on vehicles in real time.
Upgrades to the Immersion Lab include:
- Virtual Space: With the new 4K-resolution Powerwall, Ford engineers can have a life-sized view of issues that arise in vehicle development. Actual movement of designers and engineers connects with virtual movement, with the system linking Ford workers globally to simultaneously analyze and inspect the same virtual vehicle on a scale not possible before. The newest software provides a virtual experience almost indistinguishable from a real vehicle
- Programmable Vehicle Model: With upgraded software, engineers can now get immersed in a lifelike virtual vehicle. Evaluators can sit in the Programmable Vehicle Model – an interior laid out with steering wheel and seats – and both visualize and feel components. Engineers can test steering wheels, door handles and other major touch points for placement relative to the driver’s seat. Like the Virtual Space, the Programmable Vehicle Model has gotten upgraded collaborative capabilities. One Ford designer can be outside the car in the Virtual Space, while another is inside the car in the Programmable Vehicle Model
- Cave Automated Virtual Environment: CAVE functions as a wide, field-of-view virtual environment, allowing Ford engineers to rapidly test design and placement of door-mounted mirrors, center brake lights and other components to study visibility and customer preference
Virtual reality can be more effective than real-world design development; this year alone, Ford designers and engineers have verified more than 135,000 details on 193 virtual vehicle prototypes.
Thanks to Ford's Immersion Lab, improvements were made in both design and function to the sleek, door-mounted sideview mirrors and ultrathin LED center brake light on the new Ford Fusion; likewise, the all-new Ford Mustang benefits from improved fit and finish of its dashboard and concealed windshield wipers.
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