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'Limitless possibilities': Ford uses hologram goggles to help design cars

Ford designers are using 3-D goggles in order to virtually imagine an entire car in the middle of the factory floor.

The U.S. automotive giant announced Thursday it hopes by expanding testing of the Microsoft HoloLens headset, it can help improve global collaboration and speed up product development cycles.

Ford claimed the goggles could help to radically improve the firm's efficiency as designers in different offices around the world would all be able to work on the same virtual car at the same time.

The mixed reality wireless headset gives designers the option to see digital designs and parts as if they were superimposed on to a physical automobile. Ford said this function could allow designers to explore different shapes, sizes and textures of vehicle attributes in seconds and minutes – rather than weeks and months.

"We may not be able to teleport yet, but HoloLens allows us to review full-size 3-D designs with designers and engineers around the world in real time," Craig Wetzel, a design manager at Ford, said in a statement on the company's website.

"And we've only just scratched the surface, so possibilities for the future seem almost limitless," he added.

As well as Ford, several other traditional carmakers – including Volvo, Audi and Volkswagen – are also using the HoloLens for training purposes.

Microsoft is scheduled to hold a Windows Mixed Reality event next month, with the software giant reportedly poised to show off the latest version of its own HoloLens.

On Tuesday, Ford announced it would cut production at five North American vehicle assembly plants for a total of 10 weeks in a bid to reduce inventories of slow-selling models.

The factories affected employ more than 15,000 people, according to Ford's website, with three of the plants based in the U.S. and two in Mexico.