Tested on Škodians
Škoda mainly uses its employees, taken from any and all the company’s departments, as test subjects. They thus represent a sample of ordinary car users and help to fine-tune the car so that it handles as well as possible for everyone. Although sitting in the simulator, where the driver’s eye movements are monitored by special glasses (and everything, including the driving trajectory, is converted into in charts and compared with the ideal), looks like fun, it’s an extremely responsible and time-consuming job. Just perfecting the car’s infotainment UI took weeks of preparation and testing.
The simulator for testing the user experience consists of a prototype car and the solution being developed, computers and screens that project the traffic.
The fourth workplace, where developers can test pretty much any interior configuration, is also a great experience. There’s a special modular frame that allows the seats, dashboard, pedals, steering wheel and other elements of the car’s interior to be placed in virtually any position. Then, with the help of virtual reality goggles, anyone can explore the entire layout as the designers proposed it, with the added benefit of being able to sit in the actual seats in the position where they should actually be. The sensation of walking around a virtual model of a car – you can’t physically grab the door handle yet, but you sit in real seats – is truly special. Here, for example, you can test how easy it will be to load luggage into the car or explore whether everything is within easy reach or not. After a while it becomes second nature, and wearing the goggles we have to be careful to distinguish between what we can actually feel and what is only a virtual representation for now.
The interior layout testing station can test things like how comfortable the future car will be for loading luggage.
And that’s what the Virtual Development Center is all about. It breaks down the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds, speeds up development and saves money on prototypes. It lets you experience a car much sooner than was previously possible. This allows any modifications, of which there are thousands during the development process, to be addressed in a timely manner.