ford virtual reality

By 2012, Ford had started developing a 3D virtual factory, able to monitor how far workers had to stretch on the assembly line, right down to the movement of each finger.

By eliminating strenuous postures, it was hoped the whole process could become more efficient.

"We believe our workforce is really essential to the manufacturing process -- we really don't see a world where we would ever be completely machine or robotic based," said Hettle.

"We do see a world where there's a mixture, and that's what we have today."

First published April 29, 2015: 5:41 AM ET

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