The new holoride entertainment system designed for some Audi is based on an innovative technology that uses data collected by the vehicle to provide passengers sitting in the back seats with an immersive virtual reality experience integrating the real movements of the car.
The mobility of the near future will not only be efficient and sustainable, but also fun thanks to technologies like augmented reality that can create immersive experiences, such as virtually driving a spaceship while sitting in the back seats of the car, following its actual movements.
Audi has been developing this for some time now thanks to the technology of its partner holoride, which uses motion data to create entertainment. Passengers have access to various games and apps in a completely new media paradigm called "Elastic Content." By combining virtual reality with real-time vehicle data, holoride is an always-evolving virtual space that creates content that reacts to both car and passenger motion.
From real to virtual
The virtual reality software knows all the car's movements from location data, data from the various sensors, and the connection to the mobile network. This is data that all cars have had to produce for a few years now, primarily for safety reasons and to support features such as eCall, i.e., the European automatic emergency call.
This data can also be used by developers to take entertainment to a new level. Using virtual reality headsets, passengers in the back seat can immerse themselves in a 3D world in which they move exactly like the vehicle on the road, however driving a spaceship through space, for example.
The importance of data
Audi has just made the experience available on selected series models (initially in Germany) together with its partner holoride and also thanks to the collaboration of CARIAD. To make it possible, car motion data must be collected and forwarded almost in real time, because there must be no delay between the car's movements and those in the virtual world.
"There must be no latency in sending the data, which must meet security requirements and go through a complex, networked architecture," explains Florian Hoffman, CARIAD Developer.
The most delicate part of the development work was adapting the contents of a videogame to a constantly moving virtual world. Then it was necessary to define the interaction of the software with the most important data generated by the vehicle, namely those recorded by the motion and gyroscopic sensors that measure acceleration and direction of movement, GPS data that determine the position of the vehicle via satellite, and route guidance from the navigation system.
All the data comes from different control units and must be routed from there to a common gateway - a central node where all the data is collected and from which it can be sent out of the vehicle, via the Bluetooth Low Energy Standard and after being encrypted. The data is transferred via the Bluetooth interface to the VR headset and the holoride Elastic SDK software development kit, which integrates it into the different 3D worlds and merges it with real-time gaming content. In the near future, all this data flow will be made scalable and integrated into the unified software architecture CARIAD is working on.
Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven
Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven by Schell Games is the first videogame that holoride makes available for some Audi models. Here, players guide Dev, his scavenger robot Skyjack and I.O.N.E. through the hostile skies of Stratus, gathering scrap and blasting A.I. sentries as they simultaneously travel to their real-world destination.
In addition to supporting videogames, holoride technology can also increase travel comfort: cases of motion sickness are reduced because what users see in the VR headset corresponds to real car movements with almost zero latency.
The third space
"Despite extraordinary advances in automotive technology over the last few decades, the passenger experience and in-car entertainment have remained largely the same. With holoride we are redefining the way we spend time in the car", explains Nils Wollny, CEO and co-founder of holoride.
"Making the car a third living space is a cornerstone of the digitization of the vehicle; in this very personal environment, work and entertainment come together", adds Giorgio Delucchi, Head of Digital Experience/Business at Audi.
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