BRENTWOOD, Essex, UK, October 29, 2013 – Ford engineers used cutting-edge 3-D virtual reality technology to refine tailgate opening, improve visibility and even reduce interior reflections in the all-new Tourneo Connect.

Ford developed and tested many of the key features of both Tourneo Connect and Grand Tourneo Connect using 3-D virtual reality prototypes at its Computer Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE), in Cologne, Germany.

Engineers wore 3-D glasses framed with motion detectors and sat in a prototype interior to test and refine the opening height of the Tourneo Connect's rear tailgate; improve visibility for the driver and rear passengers; and even reduce the reflections from interior parts in the windscreen and side glass. The CAVE offers animated external environment with pedestrians and cyclists to help assess visibility.

Ford's "3-D CAVE" has changed the way cars are designed and refined. Rather than building multiple real-world vehicle prototypes – a time-consuming and resource-intensive process – Ford uses the 3-D CAVE to test and refine thousands of design details from the size and position of a cup-holder to rear-window visibility.

Stephen Lesh, Tourneo Connect chief programme engineer, said: "We still rely on the know-how and imagination of our engineers to bring smart new designs to life, but this sophisticated tool enables them to develop the car in a digital world and then actually get in it and experience it as a customer would."

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Ford's CAVE could in future offer controls for in-car entertainment systems and advanced driving simulations; real-time global illumination scenarios could enable engineers to analyse the effect of time of day and weather conditions on interior lighting and reflections.