Ford & Gravity Sketch Collaborate to Design Cars in VR
We found that what Ford, a giant automobile company, is doing with VR technology is cool and great. With the help of HTC Vive headset and its controllers and also a tool called Gravity Sketch, Ford is working on the new way of designing cars which is totally done in the virtual reality environment itself. They called it as a more “human-centric” approach in designing the cars. This is because the designers will feel closer to the driver or passengers’ shoes while designing them.
We all know that Ford Motor Company is a car manufacturer and the gorgeous truck maker in America. But who is Gravity Sketch? Well, Gravity Sketch is a London-based startup which specialize in the 3D design space and mixed reality platform. Their product which is the 3D virtual reality tool allows the Ford design team to create the models or in this case the 3D cars around themselves in VR.
Current Process in Designing Cars…
Ok, so what is the steps involved in the current process of designing cars? As usual, the designers will start with the traditional 2D sketch. Then, that sketch will be scanned to be in high-quality illustration format. Next, the illustration will be rendered to become 3D models with the use of CAD (computer-aided-design) software. Lastly, the 3D models is then transported to the VR environment. Once there, designers will evaluate the designs. Normally, this whole process can take weeks to complete.
New Process with Gravity Sketch…
So, what is so new in the latest process? Well, with Gravity Sketch, designers can by pass most of the previous steps by directly creating the 3D models inside the virtual reality environment. Meaning to say skipping the 2D stage or the CAD stuffs. Here, the designers can put the virtual driver or passengers anywhere they like in the 3D car models. They also can rotate their 3D models in 360 degrees and thus able to view it from different angles and adjust it until they are satisfied. This really save the time taken to do all those transferring, converting the format and switching from various modes which is from 2D to 3D to VR. The designer also can sit in the middle of the model and work out the best design that can suit the passengers. This is a very significant step because the interior designer can design based from the occupants’ POV (Point-of-View).
The major benefit or gain from this new process is the significant reduction in designing and development time from weeks to hours. This cost saving is really a good news to the ear of the management. And furthermore, we can reduce the usage of pen, pencil and papers that can contribute to the Go Green environment initiative. And along the way, it will add the richness to the 3D catalog models and libraries to be use in the virtual environment for future projects. Plenty of potential benefit ahead, guys. Keep it up!
Below is the video describing briefly about the process… From what we see in the video, there is one person doing the designing. But there is potential to use it as collaborative tools among several designers from all around the world by locating them in the same virtual environment and working on the same model at the same time. That will be much more fun. Or chaotic. Well, depends 🙂 At this moment, a group of designers from five of the global Ford design studios is testing and experimenting the Gravity Sketch tool and the new approach in designing.
Although the model produced in this initiative is not for production use, but this is really a great effort to prove the value of VR technology in the industry. Especially because it transforms most of the traditional process straight away into virtual reality process. For more info, you can read it at:
- “Ford Collaborates with Gravity Sketch to Explore New Tool for Designing Vehicles to meet Customers’ Needs” from Ford Media Center.
- The official Gravity Sketch website.
- “Ford Is Using Ultra High-Tech Gravity Sketch VR to Design Human-Centric Cars and Trucks” from The Drive.
- “Ford’s designers are learning to create 3D cars in virtual reality” from Roadshow.