Ford has begun exploring ways of integrating virtual reality (VR) into its retail experience.  

Jeffrey Nowak, global digital experience chief, Ford Motor Company, explained: “It really is a blank canvas. It is easy to imagine that someone who wants to buy an SUV could experience taking that car for a test drive over desert dunes without leaving the comfort of their home.

 “Likewise, if you’re in the market for a city car you could be at home, relaxing in your PJs and fit in trying out the peak-time school run after you’ve put the kids to bed.”

According to Ford, the biggest trigger of car sales, after practical financial issues, is emotional, with the test drive often a crucial part of that. The use of VR would allow consumer to try out different models at a time and place to suit them, for as long as they want.

In order to bring this theory to a reality, Ford said it was exploring the potential of a range of virtual and augmented reality technologies to layer digital holograms onto the real world that could within the next decade allow people to interact with every aspect of products at their convenience.

“We envisage that one day a customer could identify the model they are interested in – from the colour, to the exact finish of their interior – and the time and place they would like to simulate. That scenario could then be recreated on a bespoke basis,” said Nowak. “There really is no limit to the depth of detail. The possibilities are endless.”

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By GlobalData