Auto spy photographers take heed: digital technologies are gunning for your business. Nissan executives recently said the company will use virtual test models to cut development time in half. The company wants to trim the time from design freeze, when a new model's look is set in stone, through the start of production to 10 months. That would halve the timeline from the current 20 months, assuming the car uses an existing platform. (Building a new model line from the ground up would take considerably longer — up to five years.) The virtual vehicles, which exist in digital form only, replace two sets of test models, and the company will only build one real set. Sneaking up on one of the virtual testers at a Death Valley 711 would be virtually impossible.
Renault Using Virtual Reality to Develop Smart Braking; Who s the Dummy Now? Carmakers Accident-Avoidance System Testing Quandry; Porsche's See-Through Cayenne; Toyota Planning to Slash Hybrid Development Costs [internal]