Ford Uses Oculus Rift to Aid in Vehicle Engineering Process
Video games have come a long way since Pong: today, you can live a second life in a virtual world where you are free to do pretty any much everything you can dream of, including driving any kind of vehicle you want. Ford is getting in on the action in order to improve design procedures and techniques, reports Fast Company. Ford uses Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles to better evaluate vehicles in a virtual setting, which enables engineers to tweak every finite detail of Ford’s vehicles.
At Ford’s Detroit headquarters, a system is in place that utilizes three Oculus Rift headsets and transports Ford engineers into a virtual environment that allows for full exploration of the automobile’s design in a fully-realized 3D environment. Oculus VR was able to create their groundbreaking head-mounted display after a successful $2.4 million Kickstarter campaign and a $75 million investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
“We believe Oculus will not only alter the gaming landscape but will redefine fundamental human experiences in areas like film, education, architecture, and design. Oculus is at the tip of the iceberg of its potential, and we’re incredibly excited to help them change the world,” said Marc Andreessen of his firm’s investment.
According to Fast Company’s report, the real-world application of the device is being realized in how Ford uses Oculus Rift in its engineering process. “The idea here is that auto designers can use this type of system to really look at the design of their vehicle in detail, whether its color, material, or finish,” says Vicon product manager Warren Lester. “How does it look inside and outside, as well as in different environments and lights?”
Lester also added, “The main thing is that this keeps costs down.” Oculus Rift dev kits cost $300, though Lester estimates that the four-camera Vicon rig that Ford purchased to help create a fully-intuitive vehicle map costs somewhere around $30,000.