It’s pretty easy for a car shopper to research the interior volume of a new vehicle. For the automaker, however, determining those measurements isn’t quite as easy. Many areas of a car are cramped and/or irregular shaped, making it difficult to accurately determine their size. This is why Ford n the all-new 2013 Ford Escape, Ford took a different approach to measuring the interior dimensions using Ping-Pong balls.
On previous Ford models, the automaker has measured the space the traditional way – with measuring tape and calculations. However, engineers were dissatisfied with the accuracy this method provided, as curves made it difficult to be precise. During a brainstorming session one day, one Ford engineer suggested using ping-pong balls instead. According to Ford vehicle architecture supervisor Eric Jackson, “Ping-pong balls are more accurate than using a tape measure to get the volume of odd-shaped spaces like a glove compartment. [We] did some studies using ping-pong balls and found capacities were more consistently measured.”
The engineers developed a cubic measurement of one ping-pong ball, which takes the space between each ball when piled together into consideration. This calculation, along with the number of balls that fit into a space, is used to measure the volume. In the end, about 56,778 ping-pong balls fit into the Escape, giving the new crossover 68.1 cubic-feet of cargo volume with the seats folded down.