Ford works with Gravity Sketch to develop shared virtual reality design tool

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Ford has worked with Gravity Sketch to create a 3D virtual reality tool that enables designers to create more human-centric vehicle designs. The tool enables a designer from Shanghai and another from Dearborn to step into a virtual space together to make changes to a design. Both are able to walk around the 3D design, review it and make changes on the fly. Once finished, the two can simply remove their VR headsets and return to their separate workspaces, thousands of miles apart.

Thanks to the technology badged Co-Creation, designers across the globe can create, collaborate and evaluate vehicle designs with one another in real time without leaving their physical workspace. Designers trade in their sketchpads for a headset and controllers to become immersed in virtual reality, imitating gestural interactions through motion tracking that replicates sketching with pen and paper. Designers can draw, rotate, expand and compress a 3D sketch. The Co-Creation feature allows multiple designers to engage in content creation, while making these real-time adjustments.

”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.

Gravity Sketch enables designers to speed-up the process from weeks to hours, skipping the 2D stage and working with a 3D model from the beginning. Through Co-Creation, a designer can transfer to another designer’s point of view within virtual reality to see from his or her perspective. This is especially helpful when training other designers in Gravity Sketch.

Across five global Ford design studios, dozens of interior and exterior designers are now experimenting with Gravity Sketch for workflow feasibility and its capability for real-time co-creation and collaboration. Shifting to a model that designs and evaluates in virtual reality could revolutionize the entire process by drastically reducing development time and allowing for more 3D representations in the evaluation stage.

“Our collaboration with Ford designers has enabled us to get immersed in their creative process and discover ways to help fine-tune this application to better suit their needs so they can build the best possible vehicles for their customers,” adds Oluwaseyi Sosanya, CEO and co-founder of Gravity Sketch.

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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