Ford has announced that the virtual driving simulator series Forza Motorsport has acted as a digital showroom for Ford. The game further enables more consumers than ever before to experience rare, high-performance vehicles such as the Ford GT.
At Gamescom – Europe’s biggest interactive games trade fair – experts from Ford and Microsoft are participating in a panel discussion about the growing relevance of digital driving experiences for consumers. Forza Motorsport 6 players have collectively spent more than 398 years driving a total of more than 466 million kilometres in Ford vehicles since the game’s launch in 2015. The Ford GT – the game’s cover star – is the most driven car in the game, having covered 66 million kilometres.
The Ford GT and the acclaimed Focus RS hot hatchback are among the Ford vehicles available to race in Forza. A Ford specialist worked with the game’s developers to ensure every virtual Ford model featured delivers the most accurate imitation of the real car. Ford and Turn10 studios spent almost a year developing the virtual version of the Ford GT using real-world data from the supercar’s top-secret development process to deliver highly realistic looks, performance, and even engine and transmissions sounds.
In the future, Ford anticipates virtual reality technology could offer a convenient way for customers to test drive vehicles from the comfort of their homes. Visitors to Ford’s Gamescom stand will discover interactive activities, including the opportunity to experience the first-of-its-kind Ford Reality Check app using Google Daydream VR, created by Ford, Google and award-winning virtual reality studio Happy Finish.
The app brings to life the potentially fatal consequences of driving while distracted, casting users as a distracted driver picking up friends on the way to a party. Instant messages, phone calls and chatty passengers all compete for attention, sparking a series of near misses. The final distraction proves fatal due to the driver being distracted. The app’s creators hope it will help young people to develop safer driving practices.
Forza players can win the chance to drive the Focus RS on track with tuition from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Harry Tincknell, by setting the fastest virtual lap of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit using the gaming pods at the Ford show stand. Visitors also will be able to experience Tincknell’s real-world lap of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, using 3D virtual reality headsets, while seated in the Focus RS.
Robotics enthusiasts can try their hand at programming a “YuMi” collaborative robot to perform tasks. Ford is among first auto makers to develop a new, closely integrated approach to car workers and collaborative robots working together on the assembly line. DJ Yoda and “YuMi” recently performed a set-list of tracks from 1976 onward to celebrate Fiesta’s 40th anniversary.
Fans of LEGO will appreciate the full-size Ford Chip Ganassi LEGO racing driver. Featuring detailed Ford racing overalls and racing helmet, the LEGO driver contains 67,252 bricks; stands 1839.6 mm (6 ft) tall; weighs 61 kg; and took seven LEGO builders 304 work-hours to construct. Virtual reality not only helps make Ford models accessible to more consumers, it helps Ford create vehicles, too.
Ford engineers use virtual reality in the development and production of vehicles, from immersive technologies that allow designers to fully experience a vehicle without the need for a physical prototype, to full-body motion capture systems that provide data on how an employee uses his or her body to move and complete tasks on the assembly line.
Ford is displaying the Ford GT race car driven by Tincknell in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Gamescom. Last year Ford made an historic return to the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race with the Ford GT race car taking victory in the LM GTE Pro class exactly 50 years after recording a 1-2-3 clean sweep at the 1966 race.
The Ford GT race car is based on the 347 km/h Ford GT road car – the fastest Ford production vehicle on the track ever – powered by 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost engine is SAE rated at 647 horsepower and 746 Nm. of torque in U.S. specification. The Ford Focus RS five-door hatchback – featuring a 350 PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, Ford Performance All Wheel Drive and Selectable Drive Modes, and the all-new Fiesta ST-Line – featuring sporty exterior and interior styling, and sports suspension, are also on show.