Ford: In addition to being present in games with their cars, it seems that Ford is taking advantage of its presence in the gaming universe for its work in the real world. That’s because the brand started using gamification technologies, virtual reality and online games to create its new cars.
It all started with the development of the Team Fordzilla P1, a sports concept car created by the Ford-sponsored team of professional players. Gamers helped create the car, which came off the drawing boards into a full-scale model.
From there, techniques learned with the team began to be used in the development of the brand’s new models. Designers can test prototypes with animations, without having to make real cars. There are LED screens in Ford studios all over the world, so animations are projected to a 1:1 scale and designers get a better look at what they’re getting at. Thus, it is also possible for teams from different countries to work on the same car.
Running over virtual cows
Before launching a car on the market, manufacturers also need to know if it is to the liking of consumers. That’s why they run so-called “product clinics” where their potential customers move their car and say what they think.
Now, in addition to putting the real car there for people to say good or bad, Ford is also creating “little games” to test the functions of its cars. This was also very providential during the pandemic, without being able to call so many people for in-person tests.
In one of them, a cow appeared in front of the car and people needed to avoid it. Reaction time was measured and the data was used to calibrate the steering responses in the real car. In another, people had to park a car, and the manufacturer could see whether they preferred to press the parking button just once or keep it depressed throughout the entire process. The first option was a favorite and ended up being installed on the production Mustang Mach-E.
Of course, all features also need to be tested “in the real world” before the brands launch a car, right? Even so, doing these preliminary steps in games helps a lot to speed up the development process and lower your costs.
Also, sure the designers use the 1:1 scale LED display to play Forza or Gran Turismo after hours, right? It remains to be seen if they only play with Ford cars or give morale to the competition…