The launch of our new Spinner technology achieves the goal of providing car buyers with a truly immersive and interactive experience that allows them to virtually tour vehicles online like never before. Below we share the story of how this cutting edge Carvana innovation came to life by providing a behind-the-scenes look courtesy of the creative and collaborative minds who made it all possible. Our story concludes with Summer R., a senior manager overseeing Photo Booth overhaul on the Carvana Spinner project.
CAR BUYING THAT MUST BE SEEN TO BELIEVE
You can have all the stunning technology and brilliant computer science minds in the world working together, but when it comes to re-imagining the look and feel of the Carvana Spinner, there is no substitute for unmatched photo quality.
The task of creating systems that produce such detailed and immersive photos, however, is much more difficult and involved than simply setting up a camera and a tripod and snapping away. Luckily for Carvana, individuals like Summer are on our side to help bring this ambitious undertaking into focus.
As Carvana’s senior Photo Booth manager at our Winder Inspection Center in Georgia, Summer is tasked with overseeing the process in which Carvana’s vehicles are photographed once the inspection and perfection steps have been completed at the Inspection Center (IC).
“The end goal is to take all the photography and make it easy for the customer to see what exactly the vehicle looks like,” says Summer.
“The benefit in that is that you get this 3D model that’s stitched together with photos that displays the real vehicle – not a 3D fake model of the car. This allows a customer to spin the vehicle in different directions and feel like they’re in the room with the vehicle.”
For her, the goal as it relates to the new Spinner was to not only bring a new look and feel to the photo process, but to streamline the existing photo procedures in place.
“After the acquisition of Car360 – now known as the Customer Experience team – we asked ourselves, ‘How do we create awesome software systems that can take all this photo data and create 3D models and things like that,” says Summer.
“In doing so, the goal was to also simplify the photo process at the Inspection Centers. To make that possible, what we’ve done is essentially crack open the entire infrastructure and nervous system of our photo process at the IC level and change everything.”
And when she says everything, she means everything.
According to Summer, the Spinner required the Photo Booth team to change everything from the lighting, to the camera stylings, to the exploration of the use of video data in order to maximize the number of angles needed in order to comprehensively display the vehicle.
“The robotics of the booth also needed a complete overhaul for this, as well as our software,” says Summer. “Once we pull all of that data out of the camera, we have to run it through our software process in order to name it and ensure the right pictures stay with a stock number on a specific vehicle so that the vehicle shows up on the website with the correct photos and vehicle data. This also means we’ve had to redesign the way our annotation process works, which is essentially the process of correctly labeling all the features and imperfections on the vehicle (if they exist).
“It was a complete strip down rebuild, which was a big deal.”
In the end, Summer is hopeful that all of the arduous behind-the-scenes work has a payoff for customers that leaves them feeling more connected than ever before to the vehicles they’re browsing on Carvana before they buy.
“The new camera technology we have really makes it feel like you are in the same room with the vehicle,” says Summer. “Even though we had really great, high quality photography that we were bringing out of the studios before the overhaul, it has now just jumped so much further ahead.
“If the customer is feeling more connected and more ‘in-person’ with their vehicle, my hopes are that they’ll feel at ease with the purchasing experience and they’ll feel like they know their vehicle before it arrives.”