Holoride is a German start-up that quite literally transforms cars into moving theme parks. Its technology synchronizes the motion and travel route of a vehicle with virtual reality content and this creates a hyper-immersive experience for passengers. It may also help solve the problem of motion sickness.
Nils Wollny is holoride’s CEO. Auto Futures talked with him about the potential of the company’s technology.
“Our ultimate focus is on the passenger experience — to turn transit time, which is often perceived as wasted time, into valuable time. We want to help people on the go become happier, smarter and even more productive.”
Holoride was spun out of Audi in 2018 but remains an investor and partner. Nils and his co-founders – Marcus Kuehne and Daniel Profendiner – started with the ambition to establish an agnostic platform that unites car manufacturers, mobility providers and content creators.
Its platform utilises what holoride calls ‘elastic content’. Wollny explains: “It is influenced by the layout of the route (turns, straight passages, etc.), driving style and even the environment the car is driving through. With this, a new level of immersion is created. Our tech matches in real-time what passengers are seeing in the virtual world with the movement of the vehicle in the real world.”
For example, in October 2019, holoride partnered with Ford and Universal Pictures to launch the first in-vehicle VR experience available to the general public called the ‘Universal Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein’. Guests were offered the experience inside the latest Ford Explorer where riders strapped on a VR headset and were transported to the world of Frankenstein.
“Riders encountered virtual monsters and obstacles along the way. ‘You get beamed away’ was only one of the many reactions that show how thrilled riders are by this new type of in-vehicle experience.
“This partnership with Ford and Universal Pictures reinforced our belief that if OEMs want to unlock untapped digital revenue streams, they must focus on the experience of the passenger, as they are the ones that have ample time during the journey to focus on content that they can literally drive through. Suddenly there’s no limit to where a car can take you.”
The holoride experience is obviously fun, but it can also be educational for its users, who are called holoriders. To this end, it partnered with Discovery Channel and Porsche to bring education and edutainment to those who attended Porsche’s Next Visions Day in September, 2019.
“This was the first time riders put on a headset not with the purpose of entertainment or gaming, but with options of a drone flight across a future city, exploring the deep sea, or watching the birth of our planet in an intriguing documentary.
“Not only can holoriders have fun during their journey, but they can learn too,” notes Wollny.
When passengers consume traditional visual media in a vehicle, such as watching a movie, playing a game on their phone or reading a book, this often causes motion sickness because what they’re viewing is not matching the movement of the car.
“With the holoride technology, what you see and what you feel is the same with almost no latency. The ultimate synchronization of the real and virtual world significantly reduces motion sickness symptoms – in fact, 3x more people reported having no symptoms of motion sickness at all when experiencing a holoride.”
Wollny tells us thaty holoride’s focus for the next year is working with the best content studios, developers and OEMs in the world to bring in-vehicle entertainment directly to consumers.
“Whether this is through location-based experiences like the Bride of Frankenstein project or the possibility of using holoride in shuttles or private cars – we want people to experience the virtual reality that holoride’s technology brings to life, all while riding in the backseat of a car,” he adds.
Wollny says that his near-term goal is to have holoride in passenger vehicles within the next two years.
“People will no longer use their individual vehicles just to get from A-to-B, but they will be seeking an immersive experience instead. Because of this, you can expect to see the rise of in-vehicle entertainment in ride shares and the cost of the actual ride to go down. Ride sharing could become a commodity at almost no cost sooner than we think, and the only premium would be that of the experience you unlock during the trip.”Wollny concludes: “Not only do we see entertainment being important for the passenger experience in the future, but in-car productivity, edutainment and relaxation possibilities will also be available to riders. As autonomous vehicles come to fruition and people need options to fill their time in the car, the possibilities will only go up from here.”