The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Information Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

New Ford Tourneo Connects Developed In Virtual Reality 'Cave'


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

BRENTWOOD, UNITED KINGDOM – Oct 30, 2013: Ford engineers used cutting-edge 3-D virtual reality technology to refine tailgate opening, improve visibility and even reduce interior reflections in the all-new Tourneo Connect.

Ford developed and tested many of the key features of both Tourneo Connect and Grand Tourneo Connect using 3-D virtual reality prototypes at its Computer Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE), in Cologne, Germany.

Engineers wore 3-D glasses framed with motion detectors and sat in a prototype interior to test and refine the opening height of the Tourneo Connect’s rear tailgate; improve visibility for the driver and rear passengers; and even reduce the reflections from interior parts in the windscreen and side glass. The CAVE offers animated external environment with pedestrians and cyclists to help assess visibility.

Ford’s “3-D CAVE” has changed the way cars are designed and refined. Rather than building multiple real-world vehicle prototypes – a time-consuming and resource-intensive process – Ford uses the 3-D CAVE to test and refine thousands of design details from the size and position of a cup-holder to rear-window visibility.

Stephen Lesh, Tourneo Connect chief programme engineer, said: “We still rely on the know-how and imagination of our engineers to bring smart new designs to life, but this sophisticated tool enables them to develop the car in a digital world and then actually get in it and experience it as a customer would.”

Ford’s CAVE could in future offer controls for in-car entertainment systems and advanced driving simulations; real-time global illumination scenarios could enable engineers to analyse the effect of time of day and weather conditions on interior lighting and reflections.