Ford Testing Microsoft Hololens Technology Globally for More Intuitive Design Development
With the proliferation of augmented reality, it seems only natural that automotive designers would begin using the technology more regularly in the process of developing vehicles. Ford has been using Microsoft HoloLens at its studios in Dearborn for the past year to change design elements on vehicles it has in the pipe, and it is looking to expand that technology so that the development practice of using holograms becomes more commonplace at its global facilities.
Hololens can project virtual design elements onto a clay vehicle rendering or a fully-realized prototype via wireless headsets. The developers using this technology can scroll and flick through numerous variations of design elements in order to find the right fit—all without having to spend hours physically resculpting or reshaping.
“It’s amazing we can combine the old and the new—clay models and holograms—in a way that both saves time and allows designers to experiment and iterate quickly to dream up even more stylish, clever vehicles,” says Jim Holland, Ford vice president, vehicle component and systems engineering. “Microsoft HoloLens is a powerful tool for designers as we continue to reimagine vehicles and mobility experiences in fast-changing times.”
“HoloLens allows a whole team of people to collaborate, share and experience ideas together,” adds Elizabeth Baron, Ford virtual reality and advanced visualization technical specialist. “Mixing virtual and physical models is exciting, because it helps our designers and engineers communicate effectively and ideate to see what the future looks like earlier in the process. This allows great freedom and efficiency in how prototypes are created or changed.”
Ford is not only expanding this technology globally, but it is looking to expand its application into more engineering-focused development processes.