Camouflage stickers with mind-bending patterns, squiggles and swirls are all used by car manufacturers to protect their top-secret prototypes from prying eyes. The aim is to confuse the eye and prevent industry spies and media from being able to focus on the vehicle’s features.
Ford’s latest camouflage, inspired by mountain ranges and based on the block pattern previously seen on the Bronco R Baja racer, uses hundreds of blue, black and white blocks in a pixelated pattern to break up the appearance of the underlying shape of the vehicle while it is still under development. Ford is not trying to hide the fact that this is the next Ranger, due to a hashtag and QR code built into the side panel pattern, but it does not want to fully reveal the final design either.
The camouflage pattern creates an optical illusion that makes it difficult to pick out exterior features in sunlight, while a reflective element helps hide the vehicle’s shape at night.
The digitised pattern took the team two months to develop and test. It is printed onto vinyl and applied in two stages taking up to two days to apply.
The full-vehicle base layer contains the blue, black and white blocks and is applied in the same way a regular wrap is. The second, reflective layer consists of up to one hundred individual reflective elements hand placed on the vehicle.
The wraps will finally come off the next-generation Ranger, which has been designed and engineered in Australia for local conditions, later this year.