In the development of the design of cars, the methods started in the thirties of the last century are still used. These are reduced clay models that can still be seen in promotional videos for the development of new cars from various manufacturers.
Coincidentally, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that forced some manufacturers to resort to more modern methods. Honda shared its experience. The manufacturer has several teams in different parts of the world, and due to the coronavirus restrictions and the travel ban, the designers and engineers of the Prologue model had to use virtual reality.
By July 2020, the company already had two VR studios, one each in California and Tokyo, where teams could provide feedback on interior and exterior iterations without having to travel. Already after two and a half years, the model, which was developed in this way, came off the assembly line.
The company also invited journalists to one of the studios. Half the size of a basketball court, it featured, among other things, dozens of Varjo helmets and three stands that allow you to virtually sit in the new Pilot model or Prologue electric car.
In this way, different teams manage to communicate faster, and the need for frequent flights is eliminated. But new technologies do not provide a significant leap in development. In addition, the company has not abandoned physical modeling of developments, although it is reducing their number.
There are also disadvantages to using VR. For example, people who work on the interior of a car cannot touch the materials, but they “like to touch things.”
It is noted that Honda is not the only car manufacturer that has resorted to the use of virtual reality in production. For example, Ford and Bugatti also use such technologies, with the latter announcing a full transition to VR in development.