Designers of Ford motor vehicles are employing Microsoft’s HoloLens 3D goggles in their work as they seek to cut the time it takes to bring a prototype to market. Besides speeding up product development, it is expected that the mixed-reality glasses will assist in improving global collaboration. According to Ford, the glasses will make the automotive giant more efficient since designers stationed in various parts of the world will be in a position to collaborate on the same car simultaneously.
With the mixed reality headsets, designers have the choice of seeing digital parts and designs as if they have already been superimposed on a physical car. Designers will thus be able to explore various textures, sizes and shapes of car attributes in a matter of seconds or minutes as opposed to weeks or months.
“We may not be able to teleport yet, but HoloLens allows us to review full-size 3-D designs with designers and engineers around the world in real time. And we’ve only just scratched the surface…” said a Ford design manager, Craig Wetzel, in a statement posted on the automaker’s website.
According to the general manager of HoloLens, Lorraine Bardeen, the mixed-reality headset makes collaboration among teams easier and it also eliminates leaks with regards to highly confidential designs as this is a major competitive advantage in the automotive sector. Ford is however continuing to use clay models.
This is not the first time that car manufacturer is using mixed-reality headsets to develop cars. Lucid, Tesla’s rival in the electric car space, has made use of HTC Vive in the design process of their vehicles. Besides Lucid and Ford other traditional auto manufacturers who are use HoloLens in training include German firms Volkswagen and Audi as well as Chinese-owned Swedish car giant, Volvo.
Last week Ford revealed that it was cutting down on production levels at five vehicle assembly plants in North Amrica for a period of ten weeks in order to reduce inventory that has built up especially among the slow-selling models. Currently Ford has a workforce of over 15,000. Three of the vehicle assembly plants are in the United States while two are in Mexico.
Next month Microsoft is expected to have a mixed reality event featuring products the largest software maker in the world has developed. The newest version of HoloLens is expected to be unveiled during this event. Device manufacturers that are creating headsets include HP and Dell.