A smartphone and a tablet are all that is needed to enter the world of mixed reality, a combination of augmented and virtual reality. With this technology, Audi is able to present its new models and on-board technologies in a new and immersive way, opening up new ways of communicating.
Marcel Hardetzki stands into an empty room for the human eye while he begins to talk about the technological innovations on the latest generation of the Audi A8 to an audience of journalists, bloggers and influencers from 14 different countries.
Suddenly, a full-size A8 appears next to the Audi spokesperson, obviously in a virtual version and visible through smartphones handed out to the audience. While Hardetzki explains the details of the Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro's plug-in hybrid powertrain, the car's virtual aluminum body disappears to reveal what is hidden inside.
Mixed reality brings technology to life
Progress comes through technology and, following this principle, Audi aims to offer hi-tech communication. "We develop the visualizations together with colleagues from Technical Development on the basis of CAD files," explains Marjan Blazevski, who is responsible for coordinating technical visualizations at Audi.
This makes it possible, for example, to visualize the details of the Audi A8’s chassis or the Matrix LED headlights, zooming in on individual components and offering a new perspective on the model. An ambient light sensor is even used to make the light reflect off the surfaces of the displayed 3D object, offering a level of mixed reality that has never been seen before.
Get inside the car virtually
Presenting new models in an innovative way to mark a real difference from the way they are perceived: this is the approach that leads to the use of mixed reality. "This goes hand in hand with our change in communication strategy, namely to enhance our corporate reputation as best as possible through a focused, content-driven approach," explains Dirk Arnold, Head of Audi Communications.
Goodbye VR headset. All you need is a smartphone and a tablet
The strength of the new digital communication format is its ease of use. No headsets or visors are needed to view the full-size virtual car: all you need is an iPhone 13 Pro for 3D rendering of the car and for the various applications, and an iPad, which is used to control the content. In other words, the innovation lies in the interaction between different technologies and their implementation, in particular the combination of mixed reality algorithms and CAD files previously developed by the Technical Development.
Added value for press and professionals
A 5-core graphics processor enables 3D visualisation. Depending on the position of the iPhone’s camera, the virtual object in three dimensions can be displayed in high resolution from exactly the selected position. Parallel to tracking and rendering, the system records the captured image without any further steps. As soon as recording stops, the video is automatically saved and can be used directly for other applications. Journalists and media professionals can use the video for productions in landscape mode or for social media formats in portrait mode.
"This type of format can be used to explain complex technology in a simple and easy-to-understand way. It saves time by eliminating post-production and allows the media to create content without actually seeing the car," said Audi video expert Andreas Benz at the presentation of the A8 in Munich. Mixed reality allows people to see the details of a car regardless of where they are, eliminating transport, disposal or assembly costs. Being a purely digital technology, it can be used whenever you want and provides new ways of presentation that would not be possible with real vehicles.
Source: AUDI AG
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