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3D Virtual Design Brings Cars Like the New Ford Fusion to Life Years Befor

Ford created a simulator of how the virtual reality technology works and provided University of Central Florida students and faculty a look behind-the-scenes

PRLog - Sep. 20, 2012 - ORLANDO, Fla. -- Between Dream and Reality: 3D Virtual Design Brings Cars Like the New Ford Fusion to Life Years Before Launch
Ford Provides University of Central Florida An Exclusive Hands-On Demonstration

ORLANDO, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 – Today, Ford Motor Company demonstrated the innovative methods the company has implemented to design higher quality cars with University of Central Florida students and faculty.

The magic happens in Ford’s immersive Environment Lab (FiVE), a state-of-the-art facility where Hollywood and Silicon Valley converge with automotive design to provide digital evaluations of vehicle concepts in a virtual 3D world. The result is a superior mark of craftsmanship and refined finish that characterizes Ford vehicles, such as the all-new 2013 Fusion. The virtual process also speeds up production times while reducing costs.

“With this technology, we don’t have to wait for prototypes to see how the components of a car look and how it feels to sit in it,” said Elizabeth Baron, virtual reality and advanced visualization technical specialist for Ford.  “We’ve improved efficiency, delivered higher quality and made the entire process more productive.”

The company designed a traveling “Virtual Reality Buck” to demonstrate the journey of the process in Ford’s Labs and chose to bring the demonstrator to the University of Central Florida because of the University’s strong commitment to innovation and design.

"We thank Ford for this exciting glimpse of their state-of-the art simulation technology. The event gave students a unique opportunity to see first-hand the critical role that ergonomics research plays in industry and product design,” said Waldemar Karwowski, chair, UCF Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems and executive director of the Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering at UCF.

From design to manufacturing
The same virtual-reality technology is used on the manufacturing side, where the tools are used to design manufacturing programs that are less stressful for workers on Ford assembly lines. Combining the use of advanced motion-capture technology with human modeling software, Ford ergonomic specialists capture a person’s size and movements to create digital employee avatars that simulate how a worker performs certain manufacturing tasks and determine the impact on the body.

“The benefits of immersive virtual reality technology for manufacturing are immense,” said Allison Stephens, Ford ergonomics technical specialist. “The worker avatars give us a huge advantage in designing manufacturing systems that are safer, less stressful and more efficient.”

End result: Improved quality
The advanced research results in stellar vehicles like the new Fusion, which delivers on the promise of high visual quality with improved materials, elevated craftsmanship and strong attention to detail.

“The previous Fusion was an easy purchase for a customer to rationalize,” said Chris Hamilton, chief exterior designer. “Our design goal for the new car was to give the mainstream sedan buyer a top-drawer visual experience, adding some emotional appeal to an already sensible choice.”

Inside, the new Fusion offers a sporty, driver-oriented environment with seating that brings expanded functionality. A higher center console supports the driver-centric theme and yields clever storage for items a driver wants to keep handy. Additional passenger space was designed-in by moving the instrument panel toward the windshield, contributing to the cabin’s open, airy environment.

Interior surfaces are softer to the touch, and interior/exterior gaps are minimized, while extra care has been taken to upholster or cover each and every surface a customer can touch. When the trunk lid is opened, for instance, a spring-loaded cover automatically conceals the trunk latch hardware.

“The holistic goal of our craftsmanship process is to see that Fusion not only delivers a superior visual experience but also feels like quality to the customer,” said Adrian Whittle, Fusion chief engineer.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com

Contact(s):   Francesca Montini

For more information about the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems (IEMS) and the Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) at the University of Central Florida, visit their websites at http://iems.ucf.edu and http://www.iase.ucf.edu.

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Source:Ford Motor Company
Location:Orlando - Florida - United States
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