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3D technology allows car buyers to see and drive a car virtually

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New technology is set to transform the car buying experience, with 3D software allowing customers to explore every aspect of a car in a virtual environment.

Headlights driving through a cityA recently published White Paper by research firm Frost & Sullivan focuses on the next generation 3D car configurator from IBM and ZeroLight, which enables customers to see, feel and take a virtual test drive of a car at the touch of a button.

Customers can open the doors, boot and bonnet, turn on the headlights and start the engine. If they take a virtual test drive, this can be personalised, with the customer selecting from a range of driving environments. For example, they can virtually park a city car in an urban environment, or drive an SUV up a mountainside.

Further options allow customers to experience the test drive from different vantage points within the car or an external view, and they can continue to customise the virtual car while it drives.
The technology now exists to overcome automotive retail barriers and transform automotive retail as the world knows it today, explained Frost & Sullivan consultant Catherine Hutt.

"The next generation 3D car configurator solution provided by IBM and ZeroLight delivers an experience so 'real' that time-poor, urban-based customers no longer need to travel to an out-of-town car dealership, and those who do visit a physical store will have a completely new and exciting retail experience.

"By zooming in on minute details like the stitching, by opening the doors and boot, by turning on and hearing the roar of the engine, and by letting the customer take a virtual test drive in a setting of their choice, this configurator brings the car (and the car buying experience) to life -- virtually."

According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2016 car dealers are expected to dedicate 20-30% of floor space to digital technology rather than physical car displays.

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