ZeroLight - Building a Pagani Huayra in the world's most realistic configurator
evo tries out the digital showroom that's going to revolutionise the car-buying process
God it must be exciting. Panning down Pagani’s options list for the £2.2m Huayra BC with the power to dream up almost any recipe and make it real.
The problem with creating something unique, of course, is that you don’t really know what it’s going to look like. Incredibly potent our imaginations may be, and car configurators the best they’ve ever been, but when your dream Pag finally arrives (the waiting list is said to be four years long, by the way) and the colour-impregnated carbon bodywork you paid 120,000 euros for isn’t what you were expecting…
Well, Arancio Marbella always was a tricky one to judge.
Help is now at hand, however, because 3D-visualisation outfit ZeroLight is using experience gained in the ultra-competitive world of racing games to create car configurators of quite astonishing detail. By constructing cars on an entirely digital basis, much like a racing sim such as Forza would, its cloud-based software is some way ahead of cumbersome traditional configurators, which rely on hundreds of real photos and are limited when it comes to aspect and, crucially, customisation.
ZeroLight’s idea is that a Pagani salesperson, armed with a tablet and scant concern for your final bank balance, draws up a 4K ultra-high-definition depiction of your heart’s desires. And it really is ultra-high-definition. When we try the software out, the metallic flecks in each of the colours from Pagani’s sophisticated palette catch the sun and glint in a truly realistic way as the ‘Huayra BC evoluzione’ revolves on its plinth. The weave of the gloss carbon bodywork is also crystal and you can count at a distance the coils of the push-rod suspension through the Ferrari F50-style rear mesh. In fact, you can pretty much leave your imagination at the door.
The configurator’s exquisite intricacy is only properly exploited with virtual reality, however. This means donning a chunky headset and leaving the tangible world behind. Your environment, within which sits a gleaming, three-dimensional Huayra BC, is now confined to a small screen strapped to your head. Naturally, this can take a moment to adjust to, and having pointlessly ducked beneath one of gullwing doors, I reach down to steady myself on the tabletop sill of the tub with a view to clambering in. Then comes the realisation. I’ve fallen for it all quite spectacularly. The ZeroLight guys smile knowingly.
The VR is so immersive, in fact, that I’m soon leaning over the AMG-built V12 and peering down between the cam covers, constantly reminding myself not to do something else stupid. It’s a similar story when checking that the contrast stitching on the bucket seats is up to scratch, or inspecting the vast brake discs, which are very obviously of the carbon-ceramic variety.
The detail is mesmeric, and it’s just the start. ZeroLight says it will soon be able to create a scenario where customers drive their future car on a road of their choosing, all in the digital realm. And with a deal to revolutionise Audi showrooms already in place, it seems the way we buy cars is going to change dramatically.