Who rides so late by night and wind? It is the father with his child; He's got the boy in his arm, he'll hold him safe, he'll keep him warm
Thus begins the famous ballad "Erlkönig" by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Actually a very gloomy, spooky and mysterious ballad. And it is precisely the mysterious thing that should have ensured that in the testing vehicle prototypes are also called prototypes. Finally, manufacturers are basically making a huge secret about new vehicle models. The problem that the manufacturers have is that they cannot test prototypes in the long run behind high walls and Stachdraht. At some point the development status is so far that the prototype has to get out into the real road traffic in order to be tested there. And of course, customers and competitors should not be too early to experience new forms and designs.
Camouflage and deceive
To prevent this, the manufacturers camouflage their prototypes in the wild. And here is disguised what the stuff holds. For a whole time, new vehicles were in principle armored. With thick plastic plates attached to the vehicle to disguise the shape. This is a fine camouflage, but with considerable disadvantages. On the one, these parts must be made extra, increase the weight and worsen the aerodynamics of the vehicle. In addition, the TÜV must remove such changes. And especially the changes in weight and aerodynamics are no longer acceptable from a certain phase of testing.
Slides the shapes delude
The solution here are films with special patterns that are glued to the vehicle. And as far as these asymmetric patterns are concerned, in principle each manufacturer uses their own. For example, BMW uses a kind of swirl pattern. Thanks to this, even with the naked eye it is hardly possible to recognize the actual shape of the vehicle. Also it is very difficult to edit in photo of such a vehicle so that a "showable" car comes out. Audi, with its version of camouflage, for example, achieves that light edges appear to be where none actually are. Opel simulates bulges where there is actually a surface. Interestingly, there should even be customers who find such camouflages so cool and successful that they would prefer to have their vehicles in exactly this look. In the photo above you can see a Erlkönig, which I happen to have met at a supermarket parking lot. Well, a Erlkönigfahrer has a hunger once in a while.