While I love the romantic notion of a car designer hammering a piece of aluminum into shape, it’s an antiquated way to design a car. A more modern approach involves sketching, then clay models, and onto larger scale clay cars before a design is finalized. This can involve sending drawings or team members to locations all over the globe. Designs are reworked and checked off hundreds of times before a final green light is given. This is a process that could be made quite a bit less complicated… by means of seemingly complicated tech.

Using Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality, a design team could be based all over the globe while still working together simultaneously. And the design can come together in real time, right in front of the eyes of everyone working on it.

Audi has been playing with this tech. Using the XTAL headset from VRgineers, a space is created in a lab appropriately called the Holodeck. Here, the team of designers and engineers can examine a future car, both inside and out. They can sit in a seat and see how the steering wheel will look in the cabin. Every aspect of how a car will look can be modeled, adjusted, examined, and reviewed.

And this is before anyone needs to get on a plane. Before another batch of clay needs to be shaped. And before any metal is pressed into place. The old methods are still good. But future tech is enabling for a streamlined efficient process that can yield the results required of a modern automaker.

Hammering metal is still fascinating, but so is examining a full-size car in a virtual space.