Ford Motor Company sees augmented reality as the future of car design and it plans to use the Microsoft HoloLens to pursue it, according to an announcement made on Thursday.
Ford is proclaiming its year-long pilot of the AR headset a success. Designers have been using the HoloLens in the Dearborn, Mich.-based studios, overlaying digital content on top of physical vehicle models. Now the auto-maker is ready to expand that style of working around the world.
Ford says the big advantage of using the HoloLens is the amount of time that designers can save by visualizing what new design elements look like on a car in a virtual mode. Currently, designers resort to sculpting parts out of clay. Because the HoloLens can also share the same virtual designs with multiple viewers at once, Ford is finding that it’s able to iterate more quickly through several different design options for a front grille.
Microsoft has been developing the HoloLens since 2015. Based on its Windows 10 operating system, it operates as an independent unit that is not reliant on a tether to another computer. So far, Microsoft has released a developer kit model to the market and is working with some industry partners on integrating the AR headset into work settings.