It’s a nice spring day. I roll down the window and place my arm on the door. I turn up the radio. It makes for a cool ride down the street, but I don’t always think “do the engineers worry about this stuff?” The answer is: Yes, they do.
The next stop in the Ford Tour was the Immersion Lab. We walked in to see a shell of a Ford Vehicle surrounded by motion capture cameras. Elizabeth Baron** was our guide for this section as she talked about what Ford does to make the ride comfortable.
The idea is simple: Put the driver in a virtual environment, then make sure that the vehicle doesn’t hinder their driving techniques. If they look in the blind spot, will they see the road, or a bucket seat? If the user reaches for the radio knob, will it be easy to grasp?
These are things they used to do with clay models. Now, with Virtual reality, they can monitor the driver and show how little or how much of a strain or pain it is to do these things.
In the following video, we go through the process, then Jill Hanner gets into the car to drive it virtually. I also get in the car and take it for a spin. I roll down the window and turn up the music.. well, virtually.
**Elizabeth Baron runs Ford’s Immersive Virtual Environment (iVE) lab