Most everyone knows that the building of automobiles has been a global undertaking for some time now. It’s totally typical to have engineers on multiple continents handling various aspects of a new-car project such as powertrain, electronics or styling. Ford has taken this mindset to its logical conclusion by adopting technology that allows engineers and designers to make running changes to a prototype, even if it exists only as a virtual image, in real time, no matter where the engineering expertise is located.
Ford is the first automaker to make use of Gravity Sketch, a new 3D virtual-reality tool that allows engineers to conjure up a large-scale auto design from, literally, nothingness in the freedom of their design studio, regardless of where it’s located. The program or tool that allows this is called Co-Create. You can see it in action in the photo of a Ford designer working on changes to the GT supercar. Donning virtual-reality goggle sets allows any number of designers to work collaboratively on a complex design project whether they’re in Dearborn or Abu Dhabi. “The Co-Creation feature adds more voices to the conversation in a virtual environment, which results in more efficient design work that may help accelerate a vehicle program’s development,” says Ford Design Manager Michael Smith. Co-Creation actually allows design teams to skip the time-honored practice of two-dimensional modeling in its entirety. Expect Ford to utilize Gravity Sketch more broadly as new models continue coming to market.