CES 2019: Audi Dreams Of VR In The Backseat Of Every Car
Holoride technology turns your everyday commute into a location-based VR theme park.
It’s only day one of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and already we’ve seen the unveiling of two never-before-seen HTC Vive headsets, as well as new controllers and tracking capabilities for the ultrawide Pimax 8K.
It’s Disney, however, that will most likely be taking home the prize for Most Unexpected Offering with the debut of Holoride, a prototype interactive entertainment system that utilizes VR technology to turn the backseat of any vehicle into an ever-changing immersive experience.
Throughout the convention the company will be demoing the technology using Rocket Rescue Run, a custom-built Marvel-based VR game played in the back of an Audi E-Tron, the auto manufacturers latest electric vehicle. The experience has players taking on the role of Guardians of the Galaxy member Rocket Racoon as they participate in a fast-paced mission to rescue Iron Man and defeat a snap-happy Thanos.
As players progress through the experience, gunning down enemy aircraft on the hunt for Thanos’ personal ship, their virtual environment will change and react to the real-world motions of the car. For example, if the vehicle speeds up, so will the players in-game spaceship; if the car makes an abrupt stop, so too will the player.
“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,” states Audi.
The vehicle, in essence, turns a conventional VR experience into a location-based VR theme park, complete with haptic feedback delivered by the car itself. Incorporating what Audi refers to as “elastic content” into its technology, each backseat VR experience matches not only the exact movement of its paired vehicle, but the total length of the commute; once your trip over so is the VR adventure.
“Content is a major driving force of the mobility of the future,” spoke Nils Wollny, Audi’s Head of Digital Business. “Basically, with Holoride every street pattern turns into a canvas for virtual worlds.”
Holoride will eventually release as an open platform in the hopes of encouraging encouraging developers to introduce their own elastic content; not just in Audi vehicles, but other major brands as well. Audi will be working directly with automakers to help integrate Holoride into their own machines, going so far as to provide payment in exchange for access to their vehicle data.
Audi’s open-source approach for Holoride could be just what the company needs to help usher in a new form of travel entertainment. The platform could revolutionize not only in automobiles, but aircrafts, boats, practically any form of passenger transportation.
Imagine a VR experience paired directly to a train where passengers twist and turn through a haunted graveyard as they shoot down spooky ghosts and goblins. You could even incorporate extra tense checkpoints in which waves of ghouls descend upon a player while they remain stopped during scheduled train stops.