Customer input is vital to product development at Caterpillar. Recently, a group of customers evaluated future motor grader cab concepts in Caterpillar’s Immersive Visualization Center.
“The advantage of working in the virtual reality environment is that you can switch back and forth so customers can see the concepts side by side and instantly compare the key features,” said Dan Gillen, Caterpillar product application specialist for Motor Graders. “It’s a 1-to-1 ratio, so it really allows the operator to get a sense of what the real cab environment would be like.”
The Caterpillar Technical Center in Mossville, Ill., is home to Caterpillar's Immersive Visualization Center. The Center houses a four-screen, three-dimensional, walk-in virtual reality system comprised of three walls, a floor and 12 high-definition digital 3D projectors. With a useable work area over 20' wide and 10' high and deep, it is one of the largest such systems in North America.
Expert motor grader operator Randy Kreig of Wasilla, Alaska, had a unique perspective on the evaluation. As a former Caterpillar employee, he was involved in development work that eventually led to the introduction of the revolutionary Cat® M Series Motor Grader. He explained that early versions of virtual reality technology were used at that time too. “The simulations we ran started with a chair, two cardboard boxes, some video game joysticks and a lot of wires running up to the screen,” he said. “We certainly have come a long way.”