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Say hello to Holoride, Audi’s revolutionary in-car VR platform

via TechRadar - All the latest technology news Take a seat, strap on the VR headset and shoot ‘em up. According to Au...

via TechRadar - All the latest technology news

Take a seat, strap on the VR headset and shoot ‘em up. According to Audi, that’s the future of in-car entertainment. Could it also be the application that finally sees virtual reality make it as a mainstream media?

To find out, we flew all the way to Las Vegas for a pre-CES demo of a new technology Audi is backing, known as Holoride. It’s not just Audi involved, either. The German car maker is a minority partner in the new startup, which not only aims for industry-wide adoption from multiple car manufacturers, plus ride-hailing outfits including Uber. It also has backing from none other than Disney, who cooked up the slick software for the game Audi demoed.

VR with a twist

The basic idea is simple enough, namely playing VR games in a car. It’s the detailed application that makes Holoride so exciting and intriguing. Hardware-wise, we’re talking Audi’s hot new E-tron all-electric SUV fitted out with Oculus Rift headsets and a high-performance PC. The game itself is a one-off for the demo based in Disney’s Marvel universe or more specifically the Avengers franchise. You play Rocket Raccoon rushing to Iron Man’s rescue as he flees the obligatory Thanos offensive.

Audi E-Tron

Here’s where Holoride gets really clever. It’s plumbed directly into the car’s telematics. That means it can pick up data including steering angle, throttle position, brake application and navigation. In other words, the game knows not only what the car is doing in any given moment, it has a map of where it’s going.

The upshot? Every movement of the E-tron is precisely mirrored in-game. Yup, every twitch of the steering wheel, every stomp of the brakes. In the game, you or rather Rocket is the gunner onboard Quill’s Milano ship, using the Oculus’ head tracking for aim and a single-button controller to unleash Rocket’s fury on the Thanos collective. As our E-tron was driven around a test track near Las Vegas, the trajectory of Rocket’s ship mirrored the car’s every move.

Stupidly exciting

Against all expectations, the technology really works. Using the E-tron as a sort of glorified force feedback gaming seat makes for a stupidly exciting and incredibly immersive experience. Add in some slick graphics from Disney and a typically wise-cracking Avengers script and you have not only a VR experience to remember, but also a car journey that seems to compress time, which is very much the point.

Audi E-Tron

If anything, it might be too exciting. The five minute demo leaves you not only a little wired and strung out, but also a little nauseous, albeit perhaps not as much as you would expect given the intensity of the ride.

The latter problem is something that’s familiar to both users of in car entertainment and VR gamers in a static environment. You might think combining the two is a vomitously bad idea. Not so, according to the co-founder of Holoride and Audi’s Head of Digital Business, Nils Wollny. He says this cutting-edge VR tech actually reduces in-car nausea.




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TECHNICAL MUKHTAR: Say hello to Holoride, Audi’s revolutionary in-car VR platform
Say hello to Holoride, Audi’s revolutionary in-car VR platform
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