each wall suddenly becomes a truly photorealistic immersive 3D representation of the vehicle. Although the engineers know they are sitting in the real seat, their eyes are now deceiving them and convincing them they are sat behind the wheel of an XF, the interior of which appears accurate in every detail. Although highly impressive, this system has a very serious purpose as an engineering tool for JLR's future vehicle development. What the engineers are experiencing is the result of an innovative project that has culminated in the automotive industry's most advanced Virtual Reality CAVE solution ( CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment). It has been designed, built and supported by one of the world leaders in this technology, HoloVis International.
CAVE men In the CAVE, the lead engineer can turn his head and he is able to look around the interior of the XF, as if he was in the real thing. He can also reach out and touch the steering wheel and interact with any of the car's switches. To enable this level of control, the CAVE has a sophisticated motion-tracking system embedded into the corners of the screens. This technology allows the engineer's head and hands to be tracked in 6DOF ( degrees of freedom) ensuring that wherever he looks, the imagery is geometrically correct and he can interact with the vehicle in a natural way. With a hand- interaction device, engineers can also select processes to test, investigate and manipulate the virtual vehicle. One such process is a cross- section tool - as the engineer moves the device across the car, it cuts away at the surfaces and in doing so all vehicle components are revealed in a perfect cross- sectional ' cut'. By activating ' collision detection' the engineer can select components within the vehicle, such as the starter motor, and perform a virtual removal procedure. The collision detection ensures that the motor cannot move through a space that, in the real world, it wouldn't fit. This feature is particularly useful to service engineers as they can assess any maintenance job before a car is completed. Other processes include how components such as brake pipe routings and materials can be assessed with the properties of a specific supplier's material loaded into the system. VR technology is allowing engineers to evaluate all stages of the design process rapidly and effectively, cutting down on very expensive prototype ' bucks' and allowing changes to be made and re- assessed quickly. Preparation and setup HoloVis International worked for 18 months with JLR prior to the start of the project to assess the latest technology and test various solutions at its extensive manufacturing and design facility in the UK's Midlands. The final structure for the CAVE is one of the largest in the world for this type of operation. Due to the requirement for a seamless ceiling rear- projection surface, as well as the