Thursday, April 11, 2013

Virtual Reality Helps Make Impala Roomier for Real

DETROIT – When professional basketball players and other big-and-tall customers asked Chevrolet for more space and a more comfortable ride in the all-new 2014 Impala, engineers used the latest high-tech tools – including a spaciousness calculator – to create more leg and head room and larger storage areas.
The tool kit also included advanced computer modeling tools, digital human ergonomics models and 3D Cave Automated Virtual Environment.
The team used the spaciousness calculator – a General Motors-exclusive tool – to analyze how customers perceive the vehicle’s roominess, and virtual human models to make the most of vehicle interiors based on an extensive database of driver sizes and postures. The 3D CAVE helped in evaluating design concepts for blind spots, reflections and visibility of objects inside and outside the car.
“Using various advanced technologies, we were able to make dimensional and design modifications in a virtual environment before locking down on a final architecture,” said Crystal Windham, director, Chevrolet passenger car interior design. “These steps are necessary to develop a solid foundation to build on to achieve the best spaciousness, comfort and overall design that will impress our customers.”
Some of the updates made to Chevy’s flagship sedan include:
  • Adding nearly two inches of driver legroom by increasing the range of fore/aft adjustment for the front seats;
  • A telescoping steering wheel that allows drivers of varying sizes to reach it comfortably;
  • Redesigning the center console with a low instrument panel to increase knee spread, which adds comfort on long drives and enhances the sense of roominess while keeping controls within easy reach;
  • Expanding rear-seat legroom more than two inches, enabled by the 1.2-inch increased wheelbase and thinner profile front seats;
  • Nearly 19 cubic feet of trunk space – ample room for four golf bags and more space than many full-size sedans.
As Automobile magazine’s Michael Jordan (not the basketball legend) noted in his review of the Impala, “The low cowl and receding wings of the dash enhance the sensation of space, while the use of high-strength steel in the A-pillars enables them to be twisted slightly to increase the driver's field of view.”
Visibility from the driver’s seat also is improved through the use of fold-down rear headrests and a thin profile rear center-mounted LED brake lamp in the headliner. A rear backup camera also is available.
“These new tools, the latest in automotive design, allowed us to make improvements more quickly and efficiently than on previous Impala models – improvements we’re sure Impala customers will appreciate,” said George Madjeric, General Motors engineering group manager for Vehicle Architecture.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

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