Car manufacturers are realizing there’s extensive untapped revenue to unlock by drawing attention to the passenger — especially when looking to the future as autonomous vehicles advance for consumer accessibility.
Virtual reality will play a critical role in reshaping the passenger experience and is already being used in B2B product development across the retail and design space of car manufacturers. With an increasingly competitive landscape, the automotive industry must also take advantage of advancements in Extended Reality (XR; an umbrella term for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality) in order to add value to in-car services and entertainment. Differentiation through the overall in-car passenger experience will be the key for automakers to stand out from their competitors.
While vehicle design remains relevant, automakers must consider the passenger economy’s needs as its importance is rapidly growing. We understand that one in three people are considered highly susceptible to motion sickness.
So how can they work, learn, be productive or relax in the car if they can barely look at their phone in the backseat? XR solutions hold many of the answers to maximizing this typically wasted time in transit.
However, an in-car XR experience requires more than a headset. It requires content that adapts to the route length, driving style and location of the vehicle. Using a regular VR headset in a car results in intense motion sickness. The reason is simple — everything from what you see in the headset to the actual movement you feel from the vehicle gets lost in translation. In other words: orientation is off. In order for in-car XR to work properly, automakers need solutions that fuse car data with the headset movement in order to balance the experience and eliminate motion sickness.
Once this issue is resolved, it opens up a world of possibilities for XR content in the car — with gaming being only one of many options. Passengers will want to maximize their time and consume experiences they can learn from. Educational content pieces will allow students to explore new worlds and create a new method of learning — whether it’s on the way to school, soccer practice or during history class.
Once in-car XR is accessible for all consumers, ridesharing, for instance, will not only provide a mode of transportation but also an interactive adventure. Transit time will be transformed into valuable time, especially with transportation as a service, by offering interactive experiences.
These adjustments in the passenger experience driven by XR technology will have a profound impact on the entire automotive industry. Autonomous vehicles are therefore seen as the enabler in addressing the needs of an even larger group of passengers — drivers.
First, however, automakers need to re-imagine and expand in-car entertainment offerings now, adapting to current and future passenger needs, in order to be ready for autonomous vehicles. XR will inevitably find its way into vehicles and significantly shape the automotive and passenger culture of the future.