GM 3D Scanning Competitors For Years – Really?

GM_3D_scanningGM has been 3D scanning competitors for years – Image source:

General Motors – GM 3D Scanning Competitors cars…

They are literally dismantling their competitors cars, among them Mercedes Benz, so that they can do 3D scanning in order to reverse-engineer these vehicles, increasing speed to market.

Sean Gallagher, an IT Editor for Ars Technica’s paid the GM Vehicle Engineering Center (VEC) in Warren, Michigan a visit earlier this month.

As he entered the facility he immediately saw the GM engineers literally ripping apart a Mercedes Benz. He said, “A Mercedes sport utility vehicle stripped of its body panels and chassis sat on a platform like a cadaver on an autopsy table, components of its exhaust system arranged neatly on a cart for examination.”

What is happening here is that GM is utilizing 3D scanning, modeling and printing to improve on their motorcars – in other words they have turned radically to 3D, but this is not new to GM by any means.

A snippet of this article taken from states: “In 2002, some GM executives were talking about the idea of the company becoming a “virtual” automaker-shifting toward becoming purely a design and engineering shop and outsourcing manufacturing completely.”

Here is a short video with Larry Pecar, Senior Supervisor of GM’s Competitive Bench marking, showing the actual scanner used:

Gallagher in his article, hastened to point out that “GM isn’t looking to steal the design of the Mercedes or other vehicles, at least not blatantly. The computer models of the vehicles being carefully stripped down in the Tear-down Area will be used as a reference point for designers.”

The point to the whole thing is that the 3D scanning tools turn the results of the scan into math data, which then allows GM to quickly improve on their own products.

So first they do the “white-light scan” where they take high resolution pictures of the cars, creating a 3D map of the surface. The scanner then creates a larger 3D model.

Next is the “red-light scan” which documents fine details of the interior and smaller parts. This is done with reflective laser light and a CMM or coordinate mapping machine is also used .

Then comes the “blue-light scan” which Pecar refers to as “white-light scanning on steroids.”

general_motors_3DCredit: Aurich Lawson

The blue-light process handles reflective and transparent surfaces. Whereas in the white light process the surfaces need to be powdered, the blue light turns reflective surfaces to black to they can be observed as well.

Initially the process takes place on the complete car, only when this has been done does the dismantling start, so that every part can be accurately recorded.

“The end result is a complete set of reverse-engineered computer models of the vehicles brought into the Teardown.” It is not uncommon that the new models are even more accurate than the originals.

The article was originally seen in: ars technica

What next in our 3D world 🙂

-Val Cameron/Dreamlight

PS: If you want to create your own 3D models, and earn extra income, then head over HERE.

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2 Responses to “GM 3D Scanning Competitors For Years – Really?”

  1. kyoto kid September 30, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    …DARPA has most likely been doing this for years at various facilities. It is known that the US military has possession of Russian and European (possibly even Chinese) fighters and no doubt have been using 3D scanning for their reverse engineering programme. Keep in mind that GPS was strictly a military technology long before it found it’s way into the hands of hikers and into our cars.

  2. Kurt September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    If this improves speed in design, thus saving money, why did they need to be bailed out with stolen money (taxes)?

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