Tri-state FORD VR
Based in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford is a global company that designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of cars, trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles, and pursues leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions.
Drive up the client’s promotional campaign
The client needed an application that would showcase their latest product in an interesting and unusual way. After all, the company is a well-known car manufacturer, whose products always receive a great deal of publicity.
The promotional campaign for the latest Ford model was to employ virtual reality. As driving the entire route was to take only a few minutes, it contained only the most distinctive features. The entire solution was to be easy to transport and offer the right quality of graphics, and fun.
Another important element was the car control system, which had to be very intuitive. Fortunately, Google Daydream included all the elements that allowed us to meet the client’s expectations.
Putting our shoulders to the wheel
The whole idea of promotion was that during big events (such as sports events), involving thousands of people, everyone could take an incredible ride through a part of the USA, incuding Connecticut, Long Island, New York and New Jersey.
Initially, we used a tiny controller, specially designed for Google Daydream. It sported a built-in gyroscope, providing a high degree of control over the VR car. Its small size, however, was quite problematic, so it turned out that the best solution was to print a special steering wheel on a 3D printer. The models we have put together include a space where users can put the controller, so it is possible to use the steering wheel just as in a real car.
We used Google Maps and an entire set of reference photos to prepare the right route. It was important that the app contain characteristic elements of landscape and architecture that are certainly known to potential users.
The client participated in our daily meetings via Skype, reporting their comments on a regular basis. Additionally, once a week (after each sprint), we presented a working version of the game, with all of the client’s comments from the current week already implemented. This, in turn, enabled efficient project management and delivery of the application within the required time frame.
Based on the maps and graphics, we created an appropriate 3D environment. There were all the characteristic features of the landscape, as well as architectural elements (i.e. bridges, ships, the Statue of Liberty, and much more). Driving was supposed to be dynamic and engaging.
Then, it was necessary to prepare the right car model, which would represent the best possible quality, while not causing any technical problems with the game (let us keep in mind that the Google Daydream solution is based on a cell phone). Some of the most important features of the car were to be presented while driving, including four-wheel drive, terrain management system, blind spot information system, or automatic parking.
Users receive a steering wheel printed on a 3D printer. Next, they put on the Google Daydream glasses and, right away, they are standing in a quiet, forested area of Long Island. Suddenly, a new Ford model approaches, the door opens and they get inside.
After a short tutorial, they are ready for the road. It leads them through atmospheric surroundings and urban landscapes, finally reaching a Ford showroom. On the way, users collect coins and learn about the innovative systems that the new car model they are driving is equipped with.
From daydreaming to tangible virtual reality
Now everyone has the opportunity to ride a new car model, experience its interior, and get to know the car’s specifications. Therefore, while en route, players collect Ford logos and see their score after completing the entire route. They can then compare it with a friend’s score, for instance.
Thanks to such an application, users immediately develop a positive perception of the product. They are also aware that the company is an innovative undertaking because of the use of modern promotion tools and state-of-the-art automotive solutions. Of course, users also learn about the location of the nearest car dealer, where they can buy a real car.
All this makes for an immersive experience of driving a modern and unique car, with all of its innovative solutions and features available for testing in just a few minutes of pure fun.
Take the wheel with the best of VR technology
The entire software part of the application was developed using Unity 3D. Sophisticated modeling was done in 3ds Max, and the physical controller (the steering wheel) was manufactured using a 3D printer. The application is designed for the Google Daydream devices.