Ford uses virtual reality to describe its vision of transportation’s future

Attendees take part in a virtual reality ride in the Ford booth during the LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

The drone dived underneath a bridge and zoomed right behind a vehicle. Then the ride ended — and the participants took off their goggles.

For five minutes, attendees of the L.A. Auto Show can experience what Ford calls “the city of tomorrow” through a virtual reality “roller coaster” that showcases the big carmaker’s ideas about future forms of transportation.

The simulation — which debuted at an auto show in Detroit in January — takes the passengers on a virtual tour of a futuristic city on a drone with black seats. Four people at a time sit in a row and are given headsets.


Passengers appear to each other as 3-D avatars as the drone cruises throughout the city, stopping at certain points throughout the tour to “talk about what FordPass could do for you” as a consumer, said Garrett Carr, Global Auto Show and events manager for Ford.

“As people start to think about what is the future of mobility going to be, we wanted to come up with a creative and entertaining way to share our thoughts with people,” Carr said.

Ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles were some of the tour’s biggest talking points.

In previous demonstrations, Carr said, the line to the ride was an hour and a half long. “It’s a way to help consumers understand and think about [in] five, 10, 15 years, what is [the future] going to look like,” Carr said.