Augmented reality and virtual reality technology has exploded in the automotive industry, within both the self-driving and standard markets. Continental, HARMAN International, Microsoft, Visteon, Volkswagen, HTC, NVIDIA, Unity, AutoVRse, Bosch are some of the industry’s top leaders, and each manufacturer has something unique to offer to its consumer base.
By enhancing road safety and accessibility for a wide variety of vehicles on the market, check out the main augmented reality and virtual reality trends that are growing in the automotive industry.
Seamless Shopping Experience
Before drivers even leave the lot, virtual reality is changing the way customers shop for new vehicles.
For people who prefer to shop exclusively online, virtual reality gives shoppers a much clearer picture of their prospective purchase. While photos can show the appearance of the vehicle, VR showroom apps allow the customer to “test drive” the car from the comfort of their home.
Virtual reality applications include helpful functions like:
- Virtual “behind-the-wheel” view
- Simplified technical details
- Improved engagement with the vehicle’s features
- Real-time customization
- Ability to test the vehicle virtually through various terrains and driving conditions
Prevent Buyer’s Remorse and Improve Customer Satisfaction
Nowadays, shoppers don’t want to spend more time than necessary during the selection process. They come to the dealership with research and data in hand, and want to leave with their dream car as soon as possible.
360-degree walkthrough videos and immersive presentations give buyers even more preparedness before they sign on the dotted line. This provides customers with an additional sense of security and confidence in their purchase. In addition to improving your conversion rate, this can also add to your dealership’s client satisfaction rate and reputation.
Reduce Costs for Dealers
Furthermore, using virtual and augmented reality tech to sell cars (both online and in store) can reduce costs dramatically for dealers by reducing inventory and operational costs.
Since customers can test the car without physically entering a test vehicle, you can give an unlimited number of virtual test drives via a digital program or application. Additionally, potential buyers can customize their virtual vehicle anyway they like – from exterior color to interior material to choosing the bells and whistles they want.
Customer engagement is another factor that heavily influences a dealership’s profitability over time. When there are so many brands in the auto sale industry, this is one tech upgrade that can truly set dealers apart from their competition.
Using this system to market inventory allows sellers to downsize and reduce the amount of units they keep onsite. This can heavily impact staffing costs, leasing fees, and more.
Provide Realistic Test Drive Conditions
You can only learn so much about a car on a drive around a city block. For more adventurous drivers who plan on taking more rugged drives, this kind of test does little more than show off the car’s interior.
Virtual reality programs and built-in augmented reality capabilities can give drivers a real-life idea about how a car will perform on steep hills, uneven roads, or even sandy dunes. Using motion-detection and projected objects in coordination with the actual movement of the vehicle, potential buyers can get more out of a controlled-track test drive than they would with traditional methods.
Not only can this increase the customer’s level of confidence in their purchase, but the same technology is improving safety and functionality during the initial prototype testing phase. By working out potential bugs and issues before the car ever hits the lot, this technology is reducing recalls and after-market adjustments for top auto manufacturers.
From the service line to the customer’s driveway, virtual reality and augmented reality is making the driving experience safer and more enjoyable for all types of drivers.
Rising Demand for Driving Safety
Perhaps the largest motivator for augmented reality and virtual reality innovation is the demand for increased consumer safety. Utilizing advanced sensor technology that includes radar, imaging, display projections, and other peripheral visual guides can increase driver and passenger safety significantly.
In-vehicle safety includes a variety of components, from distracted driving to lack of navigation support. Augmented reality and virtual reality platforms can provide drivers and passengers, respectively, with all of the information they need to guarantee a seamless drive.
Using peripheral or superimposed displays over the individuals direct line of sight, users can view information without impairing their vision and causing danger for anyone on the road.
Standard applications and tools currently include:
- Dynamic navigation and directions
- Traffic information
- Weather reporting
- Automobile maintenance data
- Blindspot protection
Instead of relying on difficult-to-use auxiliary devices to follow your driving route or keep up on auto repairs, AR/VR technology removes these cumbersome distractions from the equation.
Enhanced Sensor Technologies
Cars often come equipped with anti-blind spot sensors, but applying this technology to augmented reality adds another layer of depth and dimension to these tools.
Sensor tech that was first pioneered by video game engineers is now becoming available as a feature for consumer vehicles.
Augmented reality uses sensors to create a 3-D image of out-of-view objects, which can improve the driver’s blind spot view using stereo vision. Compared to standard sensors which use proximity and motion to alert the driver, this method gives the driver a comprehensive view of everything that surrounds the vehicle.
From pedestrians to animals to road blockages, using augmented reality to enhance your visibility and blind spot protection is just another simple way to keep everyone safe on the road.
Improved Advanced Driving Systems (ADS)
While many vehicles have already been incorporating a surface-level AR integration, virtual reality and augmented reality technology is now helping drivers make helpful predictions. From service alerts to traffic warnings, autonomous driving predictions and ADS tech is another aspect of the market that is keeping auto owners safe.
- Guidance hints
- Navigational information
- Destination points
- Construction/safety alerts
- Operational information
- Fuel/mechanical/maintenance data
Additionally, the incorporation of holographic imagery provides a higher level of visibility, but a lower level of opacity, compared to LED projection technology.
Depending on the amount of information that’s displayed in front of the user, this can transport the driver into a virtual reality experience. Instead of treating the display as a monitor or screen, the driver is able to see the structure of the road while also viewing digital elements simultaneously.
Did you know that more than half of consumers who use virtual or augmented reality programs also use the tech via their smartphones? Interconnectivity is becoming increasingly important for users of this revolutionary technology, and now AR-enabled vehicles can communicate with each other for greater road safety.
Self-driving cars have used visual technology like cameras and radar to identify objects on the road, including other cars. While this allows the vehicle to gauge valuable information like object proximity and speed, traditional methods provide limited details about the vehicle.
Using augmented reality, the vehicle can “see” the entire road, camera networks, other cars, and even changes in speed limit or road regulations. This higher level of spatial awareness provides a higher level of protection for pedestrians, other drivers, and other self-driving cars that are sharing the road.
This technology has the potential to drastically reduce dangers and collisions for manual and self-driving vehicles. For those who are worried about the practicality of a TRUE auto-pilot function, this additional level of security will give drivers and passengers added peace of mind.
More and more vehicles are becoming fully or partially autonomous as a result of higher AR/VR integration. As this grows in the automotive market, “drivers” will be able to improve defensive driving procedures that can drastically reduce vehicular collisions and casualties.
Immersive Experiences for Passengers and Self-Driving Car Users
The concept of sitting in a fast-moving vehicle with a screen over your eyes is enough to put off anyone with motion sickness. Thanks to adaptive technology that incorporates the car’s movement with the VR content, even the most sensitive passengers can enjoy an immersive adventure during every car ride.
Combining interesting storylines or impressive graphics with the directional motion of the vehicle, users can be transported to a fully virtual world. Even better, there aren’t any real-world distractions to impact the experience.
Whether you’re looking for a way to entertain children on long car rides or you want to add some excitement to your auto-piloted commute, virtual reality is the answer consumers have been waiting for.
Augmented reality and virtual reality systems are finding their way into a wide range of industries, but these innovative technologies are completely transforming the automotive market.
As more manufacturers dive into this dynamic sphere, self-driving, electric, and standard-operation vehicles are using augmented reality and virtual reality trends to improve road safety, data security, and ease-of-use for drivers and passengers.