Global car manufacturer Ford is expanding its use of Microsoft’s HoloLens virtual reality solution following a successful pilot over the past year.
According to a new blog post by Lorraine Bardeen, general manager of Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences, the solution will be used further at the Ford Design Center to improve creativity, collaboration and time to market.
“Ford is embracing the digital transformation of the modern workplace across the company to make people’s lives better in vehicles today while exploring evolving mobility solutions such as autonomous vehicles of tomorrow,” Bardeen said. “Design will become an even more important differentiator in this exciting time and HoloLens and mixed reality are seen as key to standing out.”
According to Bardeen, designers at Ford will use HoloLens alongside traditional clay models in order to strip inefficiencies from the engineering process. “This allows designers to experiment much more quickly without having to physically build every design prototype in clay, which can limit creativity with longer steps,” she explains. “This new technology allows them to create and iterate more freely and quickly.”
The collaboration benefits of HoloLens are also being realised by Ford – enabling some processes to be completed in 24 hours, rather than taking weeks. “Design and engineering teams across the company can more easily collaborate, without the risk of leaks of highly confidential designs – which happens to be one of the automotive industry’s biggest competitive advantages,” Bardeen said. “This allows everyone working on the product to better understand tradeoffs and to reflect customer experiences throughout the entire development process. For example, now a designer and engineer can evaluate in real time how a new side mirror design not only affects the aesthetics but also the customer’s view – a process that can be completed in a day when previously designers and engineers had to go back and forth for days or weeks.”
“I am so inspired to see Ford truly embracing the digital transformation of the modern workplace as part of its design process,” Bardeen concluded. “We know how important it is to honour the way that companies of all types work today while helping them extend their investments for tomorrow. With HoloLens, we are empowering people and organisations to achieve more through the power of bringing the digital and physical together with mixed reality.”