General Motors’ crosstown rival, Ford Motor Company, recently detailed the ways in which Ford is using gaming and game engines in developing new vehicles and vehicle technology. General Motors is also leveraging gaming and game engine in its vehicle development.
“The way we are transforming how we design our products and services is really exciting, with gaming playing an integral role in taking our creativity and thinking to new places,” said the director of Design, Ford Europe, Amko Leenarts. “That extends to our newly established Experience Labs in Design, where gamification is a key enabler for creating meaningful experiences for our customers in the future.”
One of the ways Ford is using gamification in its vehicle development is via virtual customer clinics, the first of which asked participants to play a brief online game that would help to determine participants’ preferences with regard to automated parking systems, including whether participants preferred to press the button once, or hold the button down. According to the clinic, 88 percent preferred to press the button once, which may change the way in which For implements its Active Park Assist feature. Additionally, the clinic helped to determine how participants would react to something unexpected, such as the appearance of a cow walking across the road.
“The advent of the coronavirus pandemic meant customer clinics were no longer possible, or had a limited number of participants,” said digital engineer, Tools, Strategy and UX, Ford of Europe, Mario Meichelboeck. “This was a great opportunity for us to fast-track virtual testing, to create test scenarios that participants can complete from a computer, anywhere in the world. Gaming technology has made that possible, and made these clinics more fun.”
Ford also used virtual reality environments to enable team collaboration, with remote workers participating in joint design sessions through a large LED screen for realtime, 1:1-scale design work. Finally, Ford has leveraged online communities of virtual racing gamers to determine the look and styling of several of its new concepts and virtual performance machines.
General Motors has also looked to gaming for vehicle development and technologies. For example, GM has leveraged the Epic Games Unreal Engine in powering the onboard graphics and infotainment of the all-new GMC Hummer EV all-electric off-roader and Cadillac Lyriq all-electric luxury sedan.