By car or for production, the automobile is testing the metaverse

Allowing the driver to immerse themselves in a movie, selling cars at a virtual dealership, simulating the installation of a new part in the engine: several manufacturers and equipment suppliers showed at the Las Vegas technology show how they are experimenting with the metaverse.

With or without a virtual reality headset, the metaverse invites you to immerse yourself in a new universe.

The French equipment manufacturer Valeo has thus developed a system allowing the driver or passenger to sit as if in front of a TV screen at home and interact with their environment, with a helmet but without a joystick or glove thanks to the many sensors already present in the car who spot the hands.

For those who might feel oppressed by the full-face helmet, sensors installed outside the vehicle can allow pedestrians or landscapes to be mixed with virtual reality, explains Ghaya Khemiri, the project leader.

And if the sensors have detected that you are stressed, the system can offer a relaxation session with soothing images and sounds.

At Valeo, “we are working a lot on the electric car and on the autonomous car, we have our sensors”, explains Ghaya Khemiri. “We wondered what we could offer for the pleasure of users.”

This system, still in prototype form, would initially be intended for passengers or drivers during a break, such as recharging an electric car. It could then be used by the driver in fully autonomous vehicles.

– Film on the windshield –

Holoride, a start-up supported by the manufacturer Audi, already markets a virtual reality headset intended only for passengers in the back seat of the car.

The system is designed so that they can watch a movie or play a video game with a controller without feeling sick, the content being synchronized with the movements of the car.

The company unveiled at CES a new version that can be used on all cars.

The German manufacturer BMW presented to him on Wednesday in Las Vegas a prototype supposed to inspire the next vehicles of the brand, mixing “the real and virtual worlds”.

The group notably mentioned the possibility of projecting augmented reality images on the windshield, such as speed or direction, or even transforming the entire windshield into a screen to watch a film.

“We will have to wait several more years before we see a fully immersive and interconnected metaverse appear, but mobility players can already derive real commercial value from technologies designed for this purpose,” says McKinsey, which published the day before. of the CES, which is held until January 8, a report on the metaverse in the automotive sector.

For the sale of cars, Fiat launched in December in Italy what the group calls a “dealership in the metaverse” where customers can search, configure and even buy a car online, with the help of a real-time wizard.

– Remote repair –

If technologies improve, including so-called haptic devices that simulate a feeling of touch, consumers could “examine a very realistic replica of a vehicle – opening its doors, touching its seats, speeding down a highway – as they would with a real car,” says McKinsey.

Faced with a broken down vehicle, a technician could help a customer make a simple repair remotely.

The metaverse can also support the design of new products or make it easier to test a feature in various environments.

Alexandre Corjon, head of innovation for the French equipment manufacturer Plastic Omnium, came to CES in particular to explore the various uses that the company could make of the technology.

Via the metaverse, it could, for example, show the customer what a recycled material will look like on a specific shape and thus “make the designer aware of the effect it would have” on the vehicle, he says. Or demonstrate the best performance of a novelty.

The group also plans to experiment in the metaverse towards the management committees, which are sometimes difficult to bring together due to the group’s global activities, and thus avoid trips.

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