How are tomorrow’s contract hire cars being developed?
Technology in this day and age is progressing with incredible speed and new devices and gadgets are constantly being developed to make everyday tasks and jobs easier and more comfortable. The automobile industry is one which is seeing astronomical development and this is having a direct effect on the car and van leasing industry as a whole, throwing up some interesting options for those considering new contract hire cars.
Ford engineers are at the forefront of much of the pioneering technology, and have created a CAVE (Computed Automated Virtual Environment) in Cologne, Germany, which is helping them to develop the lease and contract hire cars of tomorrow. The room is made up of large white walls and a number of projectors which cast images onto the walls in order to give the impression of a realistic virtual world. An entire car interior has been installed in the centre of the room, and it can be altered and added to, allowing Ford engineers to see how their innovations are affecting drivers and their immediate environment.
The CAVE can simulate extremely realistic environments, which include pedestrians, cyclists, other cars and weather conditions in order for Ford to test out a number of their different designs and devices. Visibility can be measured, and the team at Ford have even gone as far as scoping out their competition in order to give their customers the very best driving experience. Vehicle interiors produced by Ford’s competition can be assessed using the virtual machine, so that Ford can understand what areas they would like to alter or improve on.
Another CAVE has also been created in Dearborn, USA, for this purpose, and across the two sites, Ford have managed to improve both the B-MAX and the Focus range. By simply slipping on a pair of 3D glasses and sitting in the driving seat, test drivers and the designers of the cars themselves are able to identify the pros and cons of their innovations before they put them into wider-scale development.
These types of innovations will have a huge effect on the contract hire cars of the future; developments and pioneering new devices will be tested in Ford’s two CAVEs and then tweaked before they hit the market. As drivers renting lease cars very often opt for the newest and most up-to-date models, they will generally be some of the first to experience these innovations as they come onto the market, and will be the first to benefit from the CAVE process.