This summer, virtual reality will be launched into mass production of cars, starting with Audi sedans and SUVs.
Holoride announced Saturday at the SXSW Technology, Music and Film conference in Austin that its headset-based virtual reality entertainment system will debut in select Audi models in June with the latest MIB3 software. This announcement is an important milestone for the startup created by Audi a few years ago. It also points to the growing interest of automakers in finding new ways to capture the attention of consumers.
The Holoride system connects the physical world of rear seat passengers with augmented reality for synchronized movement while the vehicle is in motion. The system is completely independent, which means it can be supported by other car manufacturers as well.
Holoride’s partnership with Swedish software company ADAS Terranet allows the VR system’s sensor and software stack to quickly and accurately capture and interpret the environment. Terranet’s VoxelFlow system calculates virtual reality actions based on data received from the vehicle.
The VR content creation software for cars is also open source, allowing developers to create content and eventually make money.
At the moment, the only additional cost of using a VR system is the headset, but there is limitless potential for car manufacturers and developers to monetize car owners by selling subscription services or charging for certain features. According to an Allied Market Research report, the global augmented and virtual reality automotive market is expected to reach $674 million by 2025.
Bringing VR entertainment to production vehicles is also the first step towards developing content that can be consumed by passengers once self-driving cars are introduced. Holoride and Audi, which is part of the Munich-based VR company, are looking to quickly make a name for themselves in the autonomous car tech stack — and generate more revenue from their human-powered vehicles in the near term. ,
Holoride said the future market opportunities for automotive content and entertainment are huge because once self-driving cars hit the market, everyone will be a passenger.
Being first also gives them the opportunity to create a new media category that Holoride calls “elastic content.” Whether you’re flying a flying saucer or a submarine using your headset, the VR system adapts to the car’s movements, so your VR journey simulates the car accelerating, turning and stopping.
According to Holorid and Audi, the possibilities are endless. Travelers can buy or collect NFTs backed by the Elrond blockchain while visiting the virtual world. Location-based games can link virtual worlds to places or events in the physical world, such as Pokémon Go.
Of course, seasickness is a serious problem in virtual reality. Holoride says that synchronizing with the movement of the car helps reduce symptoms.
The Munich-based company, which last year raised $12 million at a $30 million valuation, unveiled a prototype virtual reality system at CES 2019, inviting reporters to drive down Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The colorful world of virtual reality was created in collaboration with Disney and other partners. Some journalists felt dizzy, others felt normal.