Others auto makers testing Microsoft's HoloLens for design and engineering include Volvo and Volkswagen, while lift maker ThyssenKrupp is using it for repairs, and NASA has been testing it for use on ISS, and to select potential sites on Mars to build bases.
Ford's designers use HoloLens to view holograms of different designs and flick through variations that are projected either onto a vehicle or a clay model.
Ford's Holland says designers can change side mirror designs in "near real time" with HoloLens. They were also able to use legacy tools such as clay models less often, allowing them to create and iterate more freely and quickly.
In an accompanying video, Microsoft and Ford showed how HoloLens allows users to overlay full-scale concepts over existing physical models in 3D space, helping them fine-tune their designs with fewer physical prototypes.
In the past year, Ford designers have tested the use of Microsoft's HoloLens technology for exploring different shapes, textures, and sizes of future vehicles.
Using HoloLens the design team at Ford were able to make the thousands of design decisions needed for each vehicle faster, and collaborate better with their partners in engineering and management. The company will now be rolling out HoloLens to Ford designers around the world. At Ford styling reviews it's more like what you see is what could be - or it could be this, or this, as a presenter gestures, and elements of the potential design instantly change.
The process of evaluating a vehicle's side mirror aesthetics and how it affects a driver's view, for instance, "normally takes days or weeks", Ford said. The headsets can even be synced to allow multiple team members to view a design simultaneously, making collaboration easy. This lets designers see how their ideas will look in the real world, as they can walk around an actual vehicle and view their designs from any angle they choose. It is exciting because it helps our designers and engineers communicate effectively and ideate to see the future earlier in the process by mixing virtual and physical models.