Now that GMC’s Hummer EV has arrived, there is no denying that it brings with it a numbers of firsts for the industry. The Hummer is the first electric pickup truck to be released by a major American automaker, but the list doesn’t stop there. The truck is also the first vehicle to ever utilize a software platform initially designed for video games. According to a new report from the Detroit Free Press, the 2021 Ford F-150 will also be bringing some tricks from the gaming world.
Whereas the Hummer EV will directly utilize software based on Epic Games’ Unreal engine (Fortnite, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect), Ford have simply pulled inspiration from the video game world. More specifically, the 2021 Ford F-150 will employ the same visualization techniques that a video game may use to give players contextual clues. Ford’s Digital Design Manager Mark Sich has a background in video game development, and noted the importance of showing the audience what’s happening, as opposed to just telling them. Ford will do this via a set of unique “avatars” that will preside in the truck’s digital gauge cluster.
Depending on which drive mode your Ford F-150 is in, a different “avatar” graphic of the pickup will appear in the gauge cluster. Throw the truck in slippery mode, and the cluster displays a truck driving down through puddles and falling rain. Throw it in tow mode, and all the sudden you’ll get another animated graphic showing the truck proudly pulling an enclosed trailer. Each mode is also accompanied by a different color scheme in the gauge cluster itself. The idea here is to give drivers a better idea of the engineering changes that take place behind the scenes when you change modes.
Now it is important to note that these new graphics will have zero effect on how the drive modes operate. Instead the entire goal is to give customers a quicker and easier way to understand what these modes actually bring to the table. While the graphics look great, some truck buyers may find it a bit gimmicky. That said, it was only a matter of time before these types of graphics started popping up now that digital clusters are becoming the industry standard.