Audi reveals virtual reality for backseat passengers…too far?

Audi Debuts in-car Marvel VR Experience at CES 2019

The experience is based on Marvel Comics' Avengers: Rocket's Rescue Run and at its core is a set of VR glasses that syncs with the Audi's movements to give kids the experience of cruising through an asteroid field in a ship manned by the Guardians of the Galaxy, accompanied by a character called Rocket, who will appear in The Avengers: Endgame later this year. As Audi and other carmakers have seen, ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are part of a broader trend of replacing personal auto ownership with "mobility as a service" (MaaS), especially as the "passenger economy" is forecast to become a $7 trillion market by 2050, according to a study by Intel and Strategy Analytics.

Wearing VR glasses, the passenger in an Audi e-tron (combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi)*: 26.2 -22.5 (WLTP); 24.6 - 23.7 (NEFZ); combined carbon dioxide emissions in g/km (g/mi): 0) is transported into a fantastical depiction of outer space.

Audi is now demonstrating a prototype for "Marvel's Avengers: Rocket's Rescue Run" at CES 2019, which is an in-car, virtual reality (VR) experience with augmented reality (AR) that features characters from Guardians of the Galaxy developed specifically for the Audi e-tron. What's unique about the experience is that every movement of the vehicle is replicated in real time, so if the auto speeds up so does the ship, if the vehicle takes a left-hand bend the ship will fly around an obstacle accordingly.

"A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing", as George Lucas once said, but Audi is hoping to get content developers to take advantage of this tech, building video games and educational VR content that could work with a car's movements in the real world to enhance the VR experience.

The experience itself now requires a VR headset and that you sit in an Audi e-tron crossover, which will virtually transform into a spaceship aesthetically reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy's vehicular counterpart.

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Audi has always followed its tagline "Vorsprung Durch Technik" which in English translates to "Improving Through Technology".

"Creative minds will use our platform to come up with fascinating worlds that turn the journey from A to B into a real adventure", said Nils Wollny, Head of Digital Business at Audi, and future CEO of Holoride. "We can only develop this new entertainment segment by adopting a cooperative, open approach for vehicle, device and content producers".

Audi has co-founded a company called holoride with the sole focus being to provide immersive in-car entertainment. For example, stopping at traffic lights could introduce unexpected obstacles in a game or interrupt a learning program with a quiz.

The companies noted that they're longtime partners: Audi, whose parent company is Volkswagen, and Marvel Studios first teamed up with the appearance of the Audi R8 in 2008's "Iron Man".

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