Audi e-tron

Audi turns the car into a VR platform at CES, using the car’s movements

Back-seat passengers can experience virtual worlds synced up to a car’s g forces

January 8, 2019

Audi seeks to combine rear-seat infotainment with virtual reality, and to that end, it has co-founded a startup named holoride that aims to let back-seat passengers experience movies and video games in an even more realistic manner with virtual reality glasses. The innovation that Audi is showcasing at CES is the VR technology’s ability to adapt virtual content to the movements of the vehicle itself in real time: If a car takes a left turn, then something like a spaceship or other object in the VR environment will do the same.”Every movement of the car is reflected in the experience in real time,” the automaker says. “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.”

“A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing,” as George Lucas once said, but Audi is hoping to get content developers to take advantage of this tech, building video games and educational VR content that could work with a car’s movements in the real world to enhance the VR experience. Audi and Disney Games and Interactive Experiences created “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run” to showcase how a computer game can be synched up with a car’s movements.

2019 Audi e-tron holoride concept

“Creative minds will use our platform to come up with fascinating worlds that turn the journey from A to B into a real adventure,” says 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.”

Back in the day, we could experience fascinating worlds by looking out the window during car trips, but the tech world isn’t impressed with that sort of rear-seat infotainment anymore.

Audi’s holoride startup will provide a software development kit to developers, allowing them to create worlds that could be experienced along with the g forces of a car.

“Holoride intends to launch the new form of entertainment on the market within the next three years using standard VR glasses for back-seat passengers,” Audi says. “In the long term, the continued expansion of car-to-X 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.”

Or you could just talk to your kid on the way to school.

Jay RameyJay Ramey – Jay Ramey is an Associate Editor with Autoweek, and has been with the magazine since 2013. Jay also likes to kayak and bike.
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