Automotive

June release confirmed for first Audi vehicles with holoride VR platform

June release confirmed for fir...
Audi and holoride have confirmed that new cars produced from June with a MIB 3 system upgrade will be holoride-capable, meaning that passengers will be able to wear HTC Vive Flow glasses and be transported to motion-synchronized VR worlds
Audi and holoride have confirmed that new cars produced from June with a MIB 3 system upgrade will be holoride-capable, meaning that passengers will be able to wear HTC Vive Flow glasses and be transported to motion-synchronized VR worlds
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Audi and holoride have confirmed that new cars produced from June with a MIB 3 system upgrade will be holoride-capable, meaning that passengers will be able to wear HTC Vive Flow glasses and be transported to motion-synchronized VR worlds
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Audi and holoride have confirmed that new cars produced from June with a MIB 3 system upgrade will be holoride-capable, meaning that passengers will be able to wear HTC Vive Flow glasses and be transported to motion-synchronized VR worlds
The holoride platform uses in-car motion and location sensors to adapt virtual content to vehicle movements, as seen through wirelessly-connected HTC Vive Flow goggles
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The holoride platform uses in-car motion and location sensors to adapt virtual content to vehicle movements, as seen through wirelessly-connected HTC Vive Flow goggles
The holoride technology will roll out to new Audi vehicles from June in Germany, the UK and the US, followed by other markets
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The holoride technology will roll out to new Audi vehicles from June in Germany, the UK and the US, followed by other markets
holoride partnered with HTC Vive in February, and the motion-synchronized VR platform rolling out to select new Audi vehicles from June will make use of HTC Vive Flow goggles
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holoride partnered with HTC Vive in February, and the motion-synchronized VR platform rolling out to select new Audi vehicles from June will make use of HTC Vive Flow goggles
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Audi has revealed that the VR tech for back-seat passengers demonstrated at CES 2019 will roll out to select vehicles from June. The holoride platform can adapt content to the car's movement during a journey, transforming a boring commute into a rolling virtual theme park.

The technology was developed by engineers at Audi Electronics Venture GmbH and subsequently spun-out into a company called holoride. It taps into motion and location data from vehicle sensors and adapts the content in a VR world seen through a Bluetooth-connected headset to add a new level of immersion dubbed elastic content.

So, instead of bored passengers having to look at rolling countryside or sprawling cityscapes as they're driven from A to B, they can instead be transported to the bridge of a spaceship navigating an asteroid field that turns, speeds up or brakes when the car does. Or if the route is particularly twisty, those in the back seat could ride a virtual rollercoaster instead.

However, since the experience is informed by the vehicle's movements, the platform also supports VR gaming and immersive movie content for those long stretches of straight highway where motion-synchronized content isn't needed.

The holoride platform uses in-car motion and location sensors to adapt virtual content to vehicle movements, as seen through wirelessly-connected HTC Vive Flow goggles
The holoride platform uses in-car motion and location sensors to adapt virtual content to vehicle movements, as seen through wirelessly-connected HTC Vive Flow goggles

Certain vehicles produced from June and rocking the latest version of Audi's modular infotainment toolkit will be holoride-capable – which translates to Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, Q8, e-tron and e-tron GT quattro models – and the rollout will start with Germany, the UK and the US, with other markets following later.

Users will also need to don wireless VR headsets to jump aboard the holoride experience, which will presumably cost extra. And the headset of choice for the system follows a partnership agreement with HTC Vive announced at Mobile World Congress 2022 last month, and will be the HTC Vive Flow.

This goggle-like device features two 2.1-inch LCD displays at 1,600 x 1,600 resolution per eye with a refresh rate of 75 Hz and up to 100-degree field of view, 6DoF tracking cameras, built-in spatial audio on the arms, dual microphones to the front, and an internal fan that draws heat away from the wearer's face.

While designed for backseat passengers, Audi sees an autonomous driving future opening up the virtual experience to all occupants, allowing drivers to work, learn or be entertained while on the road. And synchronizing the virtual worlds with the vehicle's movements could also help reduce nausea during travel for those who suffer from it.

The vehicle integration announcement was made at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, which runs until March 20. There doesn't seem to be any official video footage of the latest iteration of the technology from SXSW itself, so have a look at the demo from the 2019 launch to see the kind of experiences on offer.

holoride – Turning vehicles into moving theme parks

Sources: Audi, holoride

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11 comments
11 comments
Walid Damouny
This kind of VR is actually cool. Passive entertainment while the car drives itself is better than just sitting there looking outside the window. I usually get bored when I'm a passenger so I'm guessing such passive entertainment will keep the kids busy and causing much less of a fuss.
Mark Markarian
Great, just what the world and America needs. More moments in peoples lives where they don't live within reality.

Look out the window, see the real world, understand it.
Username
I'm with Mark on this one.
bwalsh
I hope Audi's providing unlimited barf bags. Motion with your motion. In the back seat.
It still sounds cool though. I could see some interesting games coming out this and how they handle the randomness of a car ride. Traffic jams, red lights, express lanes (can it tell you're going fast when the cars in the lane next to you are slow/stopped? Could be a VR asteroid field), probably others.
Six flags pursued something like this with a roller coaster 5 years ago: https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/8/14551300/six-flags-samsung-gear-vr-mixed-reality-roller-coasters
Graeme S
I am also with Mark on this, resist the temptation to enter the world of illusion and learn to adapt to the real world, as that is the world that you actually live in, you never know you might be inspired to do some good from what you see.
Signguy
As Mark sais, take time to smell the roses...
Nelson Hyde Chick
Mark is right!
SteveMc
A fantastic way to increase the inability of your children to communicate, deal with confrontation and basically close down a large section of their brain. I also don’t believe that these VR displays are not damaging to eyesight, especially during initial eye development, in a child. Unfortunately, common sense will prevail in the few, with the majority being sucked in with marketing, as always.
Aross
This is just plain stupid. Having dragged my kids on many long road trips when they were young they never complained. They enjoyed the experience and the many different sights along the way. People don't realize what they are missing. Crawling into virtual reality is just another way of promoting ignorance and isolationism. I hope it fails miserably.
Steve Jones
Given that the VR follows the car's motion, this should actually reduce car sickness (assuming the lag is OK) compared to typical back-seat behaviour.
As for ignorance of the world... well, some people just want to knock anything which involves staring at a screen. How much about the world have my kids learned by staring out of the window on car journeys? Apart from the odd outstanding feature, very bloomin' little. We parents drag them along on these trips, I think it's only fair that we do what we can to entertain them.
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