NASA used an augmented reality dashboard for navigation of X-38. Astronaut, Scott Kelly, used this dashboard to report back to mission control from space.
Lexus, Audi, Cadillac, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, Mercedes. What is common between all these car brands? Yes, these are the cars that do their job. But that`s not the right answer. The right answer is that all these companies use VR and AR to design, manufacture, and sell cars. Because it’s the era of augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the automotive industry. You might have missed this information but you will know everything after reading this article, I assure you.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality(VR) are passing trends for the automotive industry: car companies have been using it for many years already. They also place a bet on VR & AR to transform the shopping experience and make it more personalized, informative and less stressful for modern shoppers. They want people to enjoy the driving; not only get from one place to another. Drivers enjoy augmented reality in the automotive industry using smart windshields and fixing problems with the help of AR car repair. Those who create cars and those who drive them have embraced VR and AR, and that’ s the good news. Because it means more comfort and more smart solutions.
It seems like you can’t do anything without AR or VR today if you love cars.
One of the most influential world banks, Goldman Sachs, has created a report on the potential of VR and AR market. The bank predicts that the market opportunity for the industry will be $80 billion by 2025, $35 billion of which will belong to VR and AR software. And the chances are high that AR and VR in the automotive industry will bite off a big piece of this tasty $35 billion pie to speed up the technological progress. Using virtual and augmented reality software for the automotive industry is the way to make manufacturing, designing, and driving cars smarter.
Such companies as Ford use VR because they think that it’s fundamental to “getting things right and really collaborating well.” The company has their own lab for experiencing a prototype of a car long before it’s manufactured. This lab called FIVE, and designers and engineers use it more and more often because they can assess aesthetics and its safety and make as many changes as they want. More than that, Ford didn`t stop on using VR for cars’ manufacture. The company also uses virtual reality to unite international teams to receive an instant feedback on car prototypes. And that’s huge. FIVE by Ford Joe Guzman, an engineering group manager at Vehicle Assembly Structure and Virtual Reality Center at General Motors claims that:
“VR offers the ability to very early in the development process make decisions in an accurately represented manner in a life-like representation of the vehicle that in many years past would have required a physical property.”
So with VR, you can see the prototype of a future car in 1:1 ratio. It would take weeks or even months and the incredible number of human hours to create the physical representation of the same car for further modification. VR for car designers is the ultimate chance to experience the car and modify it an infinite number of times.
And designers and car manufacturers can do it with the help of CAVEs (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment). CAVE is a virtual reality environment created specifically for designers and engineers, in which projections are located in the way that they take the whole space of a cube. Actually, this technology was invented almost 50 years ago but VR in the automotive industry brought valuable changes into it. By using CAVE specialists can assess car safety, comfort, and design quality.
Not everyone wants to communicate with a car dealer (I would pay additionally not to talk to him). The idea that someone is there just to swindle as much money from you as possible is rather stressing. Besides, if you know little about cars, you might feel awkward or you might drive out of the car dealership in the car you didn’t plan to buy in the first turn.
That’s why car companies are betting on virtual reality experience. If you have already bought your ticket to the world of virtual reality paying $800 for HTC Vive, car brands can offer you a cool alternative to automobile dealerships – virtual reality showrooms. The thing is that for the majority of millennial sales talk is irritating and distressing. More than that, the sales environment itself doesn’t bring the sense of trust. Car manufacturers know it, that’s why they want their car dealerships to look nothing like car dealerships at all.
Cadillac is already betting on virtual reality showrooms to compete with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. The brand wants something exclusive, and in their opinion, no cars in an auto salon are rather exclusive. So if you decide to buy a Cadillac one day, don’t be shocked to find a completely empty car dealership and a pair of VR goggles. That’s basically all you need to choose if you want this Cadillac or no.
If you thought that VR was for luxury car segment only, you were wrong. Vroom has revolutionized the market for used cars by offering customers to visit a dealership for a test drive. Now customers in Houston, Grand Prairie, Austin, and Phoenix can choose among 15 different vehicles using HTC Vive only. So far these virtual reality car showrooms are generating a lot of hype among visitors, and Vroom is planning to open some more. Vroom is well aware of the fact that spending $15000- $25000 is a serious decision (especially if you do it online), that’s why the company wants to make it less stressful and more experiential for its customers.
It’s also a good way to avoid car-buying horror stories.
Want to take a test drive of new Audi with Gigi Hadid? Come on, Gigi is waiting. You don’t need to go anywhere: just grab this VR headset and take this test drive for God’s sake.
You thought that nothing could compare to actual test drive and the roar of the engine. But no, virtual reality test drive can be the next big thing for the automotive industry. It’s as exciting as real driving and you can’t crash this brand new car. Audi created this virtual reality test drive with a supermodel to make you feel like a star.
For this, Volvo is promising a first fully immersive test drive for a full experience of intuitive and pleasant driving. What do you need for that? The company offers you to download an ar app to enjoy a breathtaking mountain drive using your smartphone and a pair of Google Cardboard only. BMW has acknowledged the fact that selling cars will be more challenging with time because as Michele Fuhs, head of BMW Group Premium Retail Experience, admitted:
“We are competing with the entertainment industry.” So virtual reality test drives will become an ordinary experience.
Giving customers a pleasant and interesting experience is the only chance to hook them. Because there are plenty of cars that can be more comfortable or less expensive. If you can show me that your car can drive me to the Wonderland, I will be more inclined to buy it.
Just take a look at this Lexus NX first of its kind VR Car Configurator and Stimulator developed for Oculus Rift. The company offers its customers to take a ride in … a, no more no less, different dimension. In other words, Lexus wants its customers to have extraordinary emotional experience, not another one boring test drive in a company of a chatting car dealer. Augmented reality windshield is the technology that becomes the bridge between ordinary users and the world of AR and VR. Because it’s basically a browser window in your car. And this augmented reality windshield is so easy that even my grandpa can understand the concept.
So with augmented reality windshield, you can see all the necessary information for driving just in front of you. It means that you don’t need to take your hands away from the wheel or look away from the road to find out where you are. You won’t miss that message from Gigi. Your car will provide you with the all the necessary geographical information AND will tell you about today’s menu in the local pub. Visteon, the company that creates instrument cluster displays for cars, has introduced an augmented reality windshield with simple and color-coded imagery. The graphics are intuitive and really useful: for instance, a driver sees a red circle around the car that is about to break and marks pedestrians on the sidewalks.
I’ve already told you how Hyundai is targeting millennials with smart augmented reality car repair. Now let’s talk about serious stuff. Not every car problem can be fixed easily. Sometimes even the most experienced mechanics are not able to cope with some challenging situations. Porsche is sure that AR glasses are the solution to this problem. If a Porsche technician working in the UK cannot solve some problem, he/she can contact Porsche’s Atlanta-based support team to get some ideas. The thing is the team in Atlanta will see exactly the same things via their AR glasses.
AR/VR and automotive industry are together for long, it`s definitely not a one night stand. There are too many perks for all the participants of the process to ignore it. Drivers receive a chance to choose a car in a virtual reality car showroom, to test drive it in a company of supermodel, to navigate it with more comfort, and to fix it if there is a problem with a help of augmented reality car app. Virtual and augmented reality help engineers and designers to model and improve a car before the first detail is even built. Modeling in VR makes the car safer, more comfortable, and more intuitive to use. And saves a lot of time and money that’s why GM, Ford, Hyundai, and other big players embrace VR and AR technologies.
More car manufacturers use AR and VR to sell cars today because we all don’t trust car dealers anymore. Shopping for a car must not be stressful, it must be informative and pleasant. AR and VR are experts in comfort and satisfaction.