Customers can view their Defender build before it's finished.
Video game graphics have come a long way from barely recognizable polygons. Just look at the hyper-realistic car crashes in the Matrix Awakens. That demo uses the Unreal Engine, the same platform that underpins the popular Fortnite game. This software is so realistic, small shops like ECD Automotive Design are now using it to create in-depth mock-ups for customers. Using the Unreal Engine's 3D creation tool, ECD can create a life-like animation with dynamic physics and lighting effects, showing customers what the personalized Defender will look like when it's completed.
The video linked below shows how detailed the creation tool can be, showing up-close renderings of exterior pieces like the grille, wheels, and side skirts. This technology could revolutionize how people order custom vehicles.
For ECD, makers of the world's first Tesla-swapped Land Rover Defender, the Unreal Engine lets customers visualize every aspect of their build, starting with the body style. The Florida-based shop builds fully-restored vehicles based on the two-door Land Rover Defender 90, four-door Defender 110, extended-wheelbase Defender 130, old-school Series IIA, and Range Rover Classic.
Once the client selects their vehicle, they can then click through various options, including the paint, wheels, tires, seating configuration, and other interior details. Even the accessory options such as grilles, roll cages, and winches, are built into the configurator. ECD is not the first company to use the Unreal Engine for a configurator, as Aston Martin also uses it for the online build and price tool.
(An image below shows the stark difference between ECD's old software and the Unreal Engine)
"It's crazy powerful software that places ECD at the forefront of automotive design and ahead of the curve when compared to other boutique car builders," said Tyler Godby, 3D artist and developer for ECD. "With Unreal Engine, the visual fidelity has increased exponentially. Everything from the way the light shines to the reflections in the glass contribute to making the videos look realistic and not something out of an old video game."
ECD says the configurator will keep improving with more realistic environments and weather effects, so the customer can better picture their truck in their home setting.
"The possibilities truly are endless with this technology, and it'll only enhance the service that we offer to our clients," said ECD Co-Founder Scott Wallace. "We plan to use the engine to create an interactive online configurator that clients can play with. They can zoom in and out and make any updates to their build in-real time, tweaking the paint color, the seat leather type and more with just a few clicks."