Computational creativity and the future of AI

Test Track attraction from Chevy and Disney lets public design their own vehicles


November 15, 2012

Budding designers can evaluate their design in a six-person car

Budding designers can evaluate their design in a six-person car

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Any kid that has dreamt of designing their own car now has the chance to make that dream a (virtual) reality. A collaboration between Chevy designers and Walt Disney Imagineers has resulted in a redesigned, refocused Test Track at the Epcot Theme Park. Instead of telling the tale of vehicle testing and research like the original Test Track did, the new Test Track winds the clock back to the design phase.

More than just a passive tourist attraction, Test Track is intended to be an immersive experience that empowers guests to design their own vehicles using computer equipment similar to what Chevy designers use each day. Guests can design a car, truck or crossover with hints from Chevy designers.

After creating their very own masterpiece, budding designers will climb aboard the six-person ride car, which will serve to simulate a vehicle evaluation. The vehicle settings are loaded into the ride car with an RFID tap card, and speeds of up to 65 mph (105 km/h) can be reached while the vehicle is evaluated on how well it performs.

"Think of the ride as a base level virtual test," Jeff Mylenek, GM Design Manager, Global Exhibit and Merchandising Design, explained to us. "The unique calibrations of each guest's custom concept vehicle are tested against that base vehicle, virtually. The ride is a constant; individual results will vary based on the design. How well each guest vehicle performs in four testing segments (capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power) is displayed at the end of each segment of the ride, on a large screen."

After taking an exciting thrill ride, the wobbly kneed guest will make their way over to the digital driving table where they'll be able to "race" their vehicle against others over different types of terrain and conditions. They'll also be able to create and share a new commercial of the vehicle and take a photo with it.

"At Chevrolet, the diversity of talent on our team allows us to consistently produce sophisticated, refined and detailed design – but we don’t typically design through the eyes of a 12-year-old," Mylenek explained in a statement. "Working with Walt Disney Imagineering, we were inspired to see our brand story from a more youthful perspective and really opened the parameters on how to approach this design challenge."

The redesigned Test Track will open to the public on December 6.

Source: GM

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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