Which realities move us forward?Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) in mobility scenarios.
Next MQ! Innovation Summit|November 8-9, 2018
When cars in the future drive autonomously – what role will mixed reality applications play for the passenger? The workspace of Marcus Kühne attempted to assess possible developments.
In the next decade, there will be cars driving autonomously on the roads. Will we all face the threat then of intense boredom?
I don’t see that at all. In our workspace at MQ!, we clearly discovered that people want the time they spend in an autonomous car to be either productive or entertaining. Mixed reality technologies can help them here.
How should we imagine that?
One suggestion that was repeatedly made in the workspace concerned sightseeing – you could display information about places of interest along the route on the windshield. The second idea was working in the car. That was primarily cited by the men in the group. The women, on the other hand, had a very different idea – virtual shopping or a virtual home closet where they could put together their outfit for the next day.
That sounds like science fiction now…
Mixed reality in the car will surely not be ready for volume production for a few years. The technology for augmented reality and virtual reality still needs much more development before this will happen, and the use cases will of course only become really interesting in an autonomously driving car. But the groundwork is already being laid and we want to be part of that.
AR and VR applications are currently found in data glasses. How and where can Audi latch on here?
We as automobile manufacturers can provide part of the technical platform and user interface, such as augmented windows or similar solutions. And that is of elemental importance for us! If we succeed in establishing an attractive interaction concept with mixed reality, which only exists in that form from us, we can create real added value for the customer, link it with our brand, and earn money with it. A major goal here must be that we actively integrate ourselves into the value chain and that customers experience AR and VR not only through their smart device.
How much support from the outside does Audi need in this project?
Quite a lot, and that is equally true for the other manufacturers. The entire automotive industry is at the start of a fundamental revolution. Its field of competence is shifting from great combustion engines and suspensions to electronics, interfaces and entertainment. And for this we must enter into partnerships in a way we have not known up to now. To date, smaller companies have done our groundwork and supplied us. Now we have to actively join with players who are on our level or considerably larger – I’ll just name Facebook and Google. This change in the culture and self-image is a true challenge. You have been working for years on the subject of HMI – that is, human-machine interfaces, and you have experienced how rapidly that is accelerating…
I was already interested in virtual reality in the 1990s, when the technology was in its infancy. I wrote my diploma thesis at Audi in 2001 about the first MMI operating system. Later I developed the successor generation with the touchpad. Then, in 2013, I got to know the guys at Oculus who had developed their cool VR glasses for gamers. We built the Audi VR experience on this platform – a tool dealers could used to present all of the Audi models to customers, with every equipment option, virtually.
Have the VR glasses played a bigger role in your workshop?
Only on the theoretical level. I and my co-owners Daniel and Dirk – one an Audi expert, the other a professional from outside – placed high value on close interaction in today’s reality. From this diverse group of participants, we formed groups of four people each. These groups were supposed to imagine sitting in a car and develop use cases for mixed reality. For me, the concept of the division of lectures from group-dynamics work was a great strength of the MQ!. I had never experienced anything like this at conventions I have participated in up to now.
What else about the MQ! did you like?
The wide selection of speakers, the outstanding professional organization and, above all, the mood among the Audi employees. Everyone who was there was looking ahead – I had not experienced the Audi spirit so intensely in a long time. It was a pleasure to sense how strong the enthusiasm for the four rings still is.
Strategy Lead Immersive Technologies, AUDI AG
Since 2013 Marcus Kühne leads the project for Audi VR experience and general immersive technology strategy on the sales site. As a real VR enthusiast he was able to give insights on which realities move us forward.
Immersive Technologies Developer, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH
Immersive Technologies Developer Daniel Profendiner works as a software engineer at Audi Electronics Venture GmbH. There he is responsible for the predevelopment of piloted driving systems. He shared his knowledge on building concepts and experiences for AR and VR.
Head of PR & Marketing, RE’FLEKT
Dirk Schart is Head of PR and Marketing at RE’FLEKT – Europes leading AR-company for industry solutions. He is co-writer of the AR-book „Praxishandbuch Augmented Reality“ and shared his experiences of ten years in AR-, VR- and data glasses-business.