Audi to Launch Holoride in-car VR This Summer
A number of production cars are coming to the market this summer courtesy of virtual reality, including Audi sedans and SUVs.
During the SXSW conference held last week in Austin, Holoride announced its headset-based VR entertainment system is set to debut in June this year in some Audi models using the latest MIB 3 software. This is a major milestone for Holoride, a startup that spun out of Audi some years back. This move might also herald a new drive by automakers to introduce new ways of capturing the attention of buyers and users.
The Holoride system melds the physical world of the backseat passengers with augmented reality to create a motion-synchronized journey as you ride along. The Holoride system is also brand-agnostic and can be integrated by different other automakers.
Holoride is partnered with the Swedish ADAS software development company Terranet to enable its VR system sensors and the software stack to rapidly and accurately capture and interpret the environment. Terranet has the VoxelFlow system that computes virtual reality movements according to the data points it receives from the car.
The software for developing virtual reality content for cars is also open source and allows developers to not only create content but also, eventually cash in from it.
At the moment, the only extra cost required to use the virtual reality system is a headset. However, the Holoride system offers lots of potential for automakers and developers to monetize immersive experiences and generate revenues from car owners by selling them subscription services or charging for some features.
Though still in its infancy, the global automotive AR and VR market is growing rapidly and is expected to hit $674 million by 2025 based on a report by Allied Market Research.
Introducing a virtual reality environment into series car production is an important first step in the development of the futuristic content that passengers will consume with the advent of driverless cars. Holoride is owned by Audi and the startup is hoping to establish an early footprint in the growth of the tech stack of autonomous cars. It also represents a nearer term opportunity for generating extra revenues from Audi’s existing human-driven vehicles.
There is a massive future opportunity for both in-car content as well as opportunity. As driverless cars start coming out of the assembly lines, we will all become passengers. As the first startup to throw its hat into the ring, Holoride has the opportunity to chart out a new media category that the company refers to as “Elastic Content.” The Holoride virtual reality system will adapt to the vehicle motion, no matter the type of experience you are indulged in, such that your immersive experience will mimic the actual turns, stops as well as acceleration of the vehicle.
Holoride says its in-car entertainment system offers ample opportunities. Passengers immersing themselves in the experience will also be able to collect or buy non-fungible tokens on the Elrond’s blockchain inside the Holoride virtual environments. Such location-based experiences connect the virtual environments with the events and locations in the physical environment.
Motion sickness has been a major challenge in virtual reality experiences. According to Holoride, the syncing of the virtual with the real-world physical movement of the vehicle minimizes the symptoms.
Last year, Holoride raised $12 million at a valuation of $30 million. At the CES 2019, the company also unveiled a VR prototype that enabled reporters to go on a spin in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The experience was varied. Some journalists felt motion sickness while others didn’t.