Audi turns the car into a virtual reality experience platform at CES
Audi is showing its redefinition of in-car entertainment at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company that predicts that in the future, backseat passengers will be able to experience movies, video games, and interactive content even more realistically using virtual reality glasses. The technology adopts virtual content to the movements of a vehicle in real time: If the car drives through a right turn, the spaceship in the experience does the same, for example. Through a subsidiary, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, Audi has co-founded a startup company, holoride GmbH, which is tasked with commercializing this concept via an open platform that is expected to be made available to all carmakers and content developers in the future.
Audi is demonstrating the immersive futuristic technology with ‘‘Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run,’’ an in-car VR experience for backseat passengers by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. Wearing VR glasses, the passenger in an Audi e-tron is transported into a fantastical depiction of outer space. The Audi e-tron now functions as the ship manned by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as the passenger makes his or her way through an asteroid field together with Rocket, a Guardian of the Galaxy. Every movement of the car is reflected in the experience in real time. If the car turns a tight corner, the player curves around an opposing spaceship in virtual reality. If the Audi e-tron accelerates, the ship in the experience does the same. (Watch a video of the experience below.)
To establish this new category of entertainment on the market as quickly and comprehensively as possible, Audi says it is taking a new approach. Audi will license the technology to holoride, and the startup will use an open platform to allow carmakers and content developers to create and offer additional extended reality formats. ‘‘Creative minds will use our platform to come up with fascinating worlds that turn the journey from A to B into a real adventure,’’ said Nils Wollny, Head of Digital Business at Audi, and future CEO of holoride. ‘‘We can only develop this new entertainment segment by adopting a cooperative, open approach for vehicle, device, and content producers.’’
holoride will provide a software development kit that serves as the interface to the vehicle data and transfers those into virtual realities, allowing developers to create worlds that can be experienced in-car with all of the senses. Since the visual experience and the user’s actual perception are synchronized, the company says that conventional movies, series, or presentations can also be viewed with a significantly reduced chance of motion sickness.
holoride intends to launch the new form of entertainment on the market within the next three years using standard VR glasses for backseat passengers. In the long term, the continued expansion of V2X infrastructure could also see traffic events becoming a part of the experience. Stopping at traffic lights could introduce unexpected obstacles to a game or interrupt a learning program with a quick quiz.