Chevrolet recently showcased the FNR autonomous concept—a self-driving sports car—by pitting it against the 2017 Camaro ZL1. Well, the brand sort of showcased its latest car—it was actually just a CGI image, but it was exciting nonetheless. Working with high-tech CGI equipment, including a Mill Blackbird CGI-assist rig, Chevrolet demonstrated its state-of-the-art film technology during the recent Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.
When most people think of Chevy at an event, they usually imagine the Detroit Auto Show or the Paris Auto Show. However, Chevrolet recently visited a gamer conference on the West Coast in order to show consumers how it developed CGI for movies and videogames. Epic Games worked with the brand to come up with an innovative way to create virtual cars using a special vehicle called the Mill Blackbird.
Essentially, says Car and Driver, the Mill Blackbird is a specially designed car that serves as a chameleon. It’s not exactly pretty, with a bare frame, extendable wheelbase, an electric motor, and adjustable suspension. This Blackbird can reconfigure to conform to the dimensions of nearly any vehicle—something that blew our minds here at Fred Caldwell Chevrolet. This car also has a massive laser scanner on the top to image its environment as it drives. By first filming the Blackbird on the road and then adding graphics to the footage, it looks entirely realistic.
The result? Chevy and Epic Games can put any virtual shell over the car in post-production. So, when Chevy wanted to get people excited about a new self-driving sports car, they used the Mill Blackbird. While the FNR autonomous concept vehicle may not be on the market yet, this innovative CGI technology is bringing it to life one step at a time.