Ford Australia Launching New Virtual ???Immersion Lab??? For Car Design Photo:
2014_ford_australia_virtual_reality_centre_02 Photo: tmr
2014_ford_australia_virtual_reality_centre_01 Photo: tmr

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Trevor Collett | Apr, 01 2014 | 2 Comments

Ford Australia has ‘brought Hollywood to Broadmeadows’, detailing a new cutting-edge virtual design studio to begin operation in the third quarter of this year.

Using blockbuster tricks like ‘motion capture technology’ and ultra-high definition imagery, Ford designers will soon be able to experience new vehicles in a virtual sense “years before they are built”.

First commissioned in 2012, this year will see the first major upgrade to Ford’s Virtual Reality Centre since it was built, with help from new ‘VRED’ software from Autodesk.

Ford says the technology will enable its engineers in Australia to collaborate on projects with other countries in real time, experiencing a new model in a way that is virtually indistinguishable from the real car.

“By upgrading to Autodesk VRED software, the Australian immersion lab will offer a higher level of visual fidelity with a display that is four times HD resolution, and high-definition headsets will allow immersed users to experience a vehicle in full stereoscopic 3D,” APA Digital Innovation Manager, Peter Bunting, said.

“VRED software gives us phenomenal realism and allows us to examine aspects of the vehicle with detail we have not been able to realise in the past. In many ways, the assessments are more valuable than looking at a physical model.”

A key upgrade for the new lab is the ability to assess larger models, as Ford notes the PX Ranger ute only just fit in the current lab in a 1:1 virtual sense, and was unable to be viewed from a distance.

Other features allow engineers to see inside and through a vehicle’s structure, and the software can incorporate light and shadow calculations in real time, adding depth and authenticity.

As Ford’s local arm prepares for a future without manufacturing, earlier this year local boss Bob Graziano spoke of plans to become Australia’s largest auto employer by 2018.

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