Yes they do! Virtual vehicles, of course, and the avatars are called Jack and Jill.
In a recent article for Bloomberg Businessweek, Nick Barber highlights the details of how Ford uses virtual and augmented reality in combination with Tecnomatix Jack. There are several reasons why Ford invests in this area: They want to be sure that the vehicles can be assembled easily and safely as they are designed. Previously, this so called assembly feasibility was tested using physical prototypes at the plant just shortly before the start of production. Now, Ford is able to validate the assembly virtually, two to three years earlier. This allows Ford to adjust and optimize the assembly process, and if needed, influence the product design.
The results? Virtual feasibility tests enable Ford to produce high quality cars with minimized effort and minimal risk of injury for the workers.
The article highlights an augmented reality system that combines Jack with motion tracking technology. However, Jack and Jill can also work on their own.
On the Tecnomatix Jack homepage you can find detailed information about the Motion Capture Toolkit used by Ford.