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How Ford is Using Holograms to Streamline The New Vehicle Design Process in Michigan

September 22nd, 2017

A photo of two designers discussing elements of a New Ford Vehicle using holograms overlaid on a production car.

From Holograms to West Michigan Roads: See How Ford Designers Make Use of Cutting-Edge Tech

At Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids, we’ve always been amazed by the talents of Ford Vehicle designers, especially the sculptors that produce mockups of concept cars out of clay based on an artist’s sketches. The unfortunate truth is that sculpting these representations of a future Ford vehicle is a slow, expensive process. Looking for a better way to bring their vehicles to places like West Michigan faster, Ford has been experimenting with Microsoft HoloLens: a mixed-reality technology that can accomplish what used to take weeks or months in mere days.

Using the powerful wireless headsets, Ford designers can see changes “projected” onto a Ford vehicle in real time, add notes to specific design elements using their voice, and collaborate with other designers on the project whether they’re in the building or halfway around the world. Microsoft HoloLens also allows designers to study practical aspects of a New Ford Vehicle’s design, such as seeing and adjusting a driver’s field of view from the side mirrors, which is represented by ovals “projected” on a wall behind the vehicle.

Pleased with the added capability and efficiency of Microsoft HoloLens, Ford has recently announced its plans to broaden their tests of the platform with their design teams around the world. You can read more about the Microsoft HoloLens and watch a video of this exciting new technology in action below. Here’s an excerpt of an article published in the Official Ford Media Center:

Make Way For Holograms: New Mixed Reality Technology Meets Car Design As Ford Tests Microsoft Hololens Globally

Ford designers have been swapping some clay-sculpting steels and rakes for mixed reality headsets and visualization software that can change vehicle design elements – side mirrors, grilles, vehicle interiors and more – in mere seconds.

Designers have been piloting Microsoft HoloLens technology for a year now in Ford’s Dearborn studios, allowing them to see proposed virtual design elements as if these pieces were part of physical vehicles. They’ve been able to explore different shapes, sizes and textures of future vehicle attributes in minutes and hours instead of the weeks and months it can take to create clay models. And now, Ford is expanding this pioneering testing across the globe.

“It’s amazing we can combine the old and the new – clay models and holograms – in a way that both saves time and allows designers to experiment and iterate quickly to dream up even more stylish, clever vehicles,” says Jim Holland, Ford vice president, vehicle component and systems engineering. “Microsoft HoloLens is a powerful tool for designers as we continue to reimagine vehicles and mobility experiences in fast-changing times.”

HoloLens technology uses mixed reality, which enables designers to see holograms in photo-quality backdrops through wire-free headsets. They can scroll and preview at the flick of a finger through numerous design variations projected virtually onto an actual car or clay model.

“We may not be able to teleport yet, but HoloLens allows us to review full-size 3D designs with designers and engineers around the world in real time,” says Craig Wetzel, Ford manager, design technical operations. “And we’ve only just scratched the surface, so possibilities for the future seem almost limitless. This is very exciting.”

You can read the full article by visiting

The Latest Ford Vehicles at Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids, MI

Ford is always pushing forward with new technology, whether it’s in how they design their vehicles, make their operations more sustainable, or integrate exciting new features in their vehicle lineup for drivers in West Michigan to enjoy. During your visit to Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids, you can learn more about the exciting new technology available on New Ford Vehicles. For example, Ford SYNC 3 with AppLink and FordPass opens up a wide range of functionality between your Ford and your smartphone, including starting your vehicle, locking or unlocking the doors, hands and eyes-free calling, entertainment, navigation, and more.

You can browse our full lineup of New Ford Cars, F-Series Trucks, and SUVs online, or visit us to take one out for a test drive. Come see why Borgman is the Best in the West!


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