Virtual Reality

Driving a real car blind through a virtual world with an Oculus Rift

Driving a real car blind throu...
"Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before," said Matt Powers
"Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before," said Matt Powers
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"Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before," said Matt Powers
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"Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before," said Matt Powers

Formula Drift driver Matt Powers has successfully driven his Roush Stage 3 Mustang at high speed in the real world while immersed in a 3D virtual world (via an Oculus Rift headset). Instead of the test track that he was actually driving on, Powers saw falling boulders, sheer cliff drops, crumbling and collapsing track, and other game-like elements.

He did this as part of the Titanium Trials series by motor oil company Castrol. These trials, which are meant to promote the company's premium product, Castrol Edge, are designed to push the boundaries of what's possible in driving a vehicle.

This Virtual Drift challenge required development of a custom system to track the car's movements in minute detail and simulate them in real time in the virtual world. To make it work with the Oculus Rift, creative technologists Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder spent two months testing and installing a variety of sensors into the car to monitor the steering angle, wheel spin, brake, throttle position, dynamic damping, and more. "Essentially, we're turning this car into a giant game controller," Amaral said in a behind the scenes video that you can watch below.

Powers noted that the experience forced him to rely on his instincts and an intimate familiarity with the car. "Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before," he said. "It’s been awesome not only being involved and testing this next generation of gaming technology, but [also] the possibilities this opens up for motor sport in general are mind blowing."

You can watch the full film of the challenge below.

Source: Castrol

4 comments
zevulon
the swedish futzed around with putting this sytem into a tank for drivers. makes perfect sense if you want to eliminate windows and line of sight from tanks. problem is keeping all the cameras clean and protected from anything that might obscure visibility. once these in vehicle systems work for tanks and planes, they will eliminate windows and ports that compromise the frame and are also very expensive and heavy to build into the vehicle frame. cockpit glass is POINTLESS and a burden on the vehicle if you have something to replace it.
Mark Salamon
Another toy for wealthy people -- or the military -- with amazing potential to burn massive amounts of petroleum and scar the landscape in far flung places. What marvelous human progress is demonstrated by this technology!
Laurie Cetinic-Dorol
oh yeah! about time! augmented driving vision! but dump the game stuff and add night vision, thermal, satellite feeds....
ash
more sensible to develop a virtual learner driver experience so they can make their mistakes without damage or human cost would be great to simulate unexpected scenarios to enlighten noob drivers to the possibility of such events, and reinforce the necessity of not being distracted