Ford is set to expand its use of 3-D hologram technology, enabling car designers to create interactive models which they can 'touch and feel' rather than just view on-screen, writes the UK's Financial Times (29/11/00).

According to the article, Ford said Tuesday (28/11/00) that it was forming a joint venture with Britain`s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) - responsible for the Ministry of Defence's research and technology establishments -in developing 3-D holograms which have applications within vehicle design alongside other sectors including medical imaging and entertainment.

The FT said that the joint venture -to be announced next week - follows research co-operation between Ford and DERA spanning several years in allowing designers to work on hologram images. The joint venture is reported to be based within DERA and will consist of a small group of British and US designers and engineers.

Both companies believe that the high-technology project could save millions of dollars within the automotive market alongside other sectors. Investment details of the venture have not been disclosed, says the report.