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Virtual reality tools help shape the interior of new Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet ImpalaLong gone are the days when the idea of using technology to develop new cars was limited to automotive hardware like engines and braking systems.   

When it came to designing the all-new 2014 Impala, Chevrolet engineers used a new high-tech calculator to create more leg and head room as well as larger storage areas. The GM-exclusive tool kit included advanced computer modeling tools, digital human ergonomics models and a 3D Cave Automated Virtual Environment.

The calculator was used to analyze how customers perceive the car’s interior space with virtual human models based on a wide database of driver sizes and postures, notes a Chevrolet press release on the technology.  The 3D CAVE helped in evaluating design concepts for blind spots, reflections and visibility of objects inside and outside the car.

2014-Chevrolet-Impala-020-medium (interior)

According to Chevy, a desire to make the new Impala comfortable enough for professional basketball players helped inspire many of the interior design elements.  

 “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 in Chevrolet’s official press release about the new technology. “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.”

By using the technology, Chevrolet was able to expand driver legroom by nearly two inches in the new Impala and add more than two inches of rear-seat legroom to the four-door sedan.  

The high-tech tool kit also helped in redesigning the center console to provide the driver and front passenger with more knee room, and nearly 19 cubic feet of trunk space.