Just imagine working in a room with two beautifully sharp Ultra High-Definition displays, and not being able to watch movies or play games on them.
This unenviable nightmare is a reality for a number of Chevrolet Designers and Engineers, who use a 240 square-foot display, and two 4K projectors in order to refine part designs before ordering physical prototypes. Despite the startup costs, plus the man-hours spent in 3D modeling software, drafting up a “virtual” prototype of a component is actually far less expensive than a physical production, in most cases.
As an example, a press release from Chevrolet cites the 2015 Chevy Colorado and its chrome assist step. A team of Chevrolet workers used the PowerWall to model the part long before a physical prototype was available, in order to design around any glaring reflections that might have arisen from the component’s drainage holes. The customizable GearOn cargo storage system was also tested in concept on the PowerWall before being modeled in wood or clay.
The PowerWall won’t serve as a replacement for physical models, at least not in the technology’s current state. But its accuracy and capability allow for a superior initial appraisal of proposed vehicle components.