Using Computer Game Technology for Vehicle Development
From game development to vehicle development: virtual models can ease the burden on development budgets. For example, Ford is testing new vehicle features interactively with customers in a computer game.
Product development with extended reality (XR) is also beginning to gain a foothold in the automotive industry. In addition to new opportunities for non-contact, cross-location work, physical-virtual models can also lead to interactive testing of vehicle functions together with customers. To this end, the car manufacturer Ford is applying the knowledge it gained in the gaming sector to its own processes and is letting customers test new vehicle functions interactively. For example, they are using an online game to explore whether participants prefer to hold down the automatic parking button for a short time or just press it once. "The way we design our products and services is really exciting. This also applies to our newly established Experience Design Labs, where gamification is one of the key factors in developing meaningful user experiences”, said Amko Leenarts, Director of Design, Ford of Europe.
In addition to connecting with customers and identifying what they want, virtual methods also save development costs by eliminating the need for real prototypes initially. It’s an approach common among game developers. "In the automotive industry, it’s not uncommon for 10 % of the entire development budget to go into the production of prototypes", says Marc Etri, head of the XR Lab at the Institute of Product Development (IPEK) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. There, scientists are researching how extended reality can be made usable in all development phases and are developing new methods and processes for this purpose, which are applied practically in development and teaching.