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Saving the world on the way to school

Holoriders VR featuring u-blox GNSS

This article is an extract from our latest u‑blox magazine on IoT security. Download your own copy of the magazine today!

Buckle up, put on your headset, and hold on tight! Using advanced virtual reality technology, holoride, operating out of Munich, Germany, is redefining the passenger experience in motorized transport by immersing them into interactive adventures in which they become the hero of their own journey. Whether navigating Super Mario-style fantasy worlds, shooting down spaceships, or fending off attacks from a herd of dinosaurs, what they see in their headsets maps one to one with what they feel as the car they are sitting in makes its way through traffic.

If you get carsick reading in the back seat, you might be surprised to learn that immersing yourself into a computer-generated universe can have the exact opposite effect. By matching up the virtual world seen in a VR-headset and the vehicle’s movements through holoride’s technology, with time lags down to just a few milliseconds, your brain won’t register the nausea-inducing sensory conflict some people experience when reading while driving up a mountain pass. Especially for children, who are most afflicted by carsickness, holoride’s solution might come as a blessing.

From a daily commute to an unforgettable journey

“We spend so much time in cars. Why not make it more exciting for the passenger in the back seat?” says Daniel Profendiner, CTO and co-founder of holoride. “Our goal is to revolutionize in-car entertainment and make a passenger’s daily commute more enjoyable. Passengers not only need immersive content, but they need content tailored to the duration of their journey – that’s where holoride comes in, providing elastic content to all riders. Soon, people won’t just expect a car to get them from A to B, they will be seeking an experience in the process.”

The company, which spun out of German carmaker Audi, made its public debut at CES 2019, where it immediately caught the attention of visitors and reporters. In its short existence – it was founded in 2018 – holoride has already racked up partnerships with several automakers – Audi, Ford, and Porsche – and film studios – Disney, Universal Pictures, and the Discovery Channel. The results have been spectacular: journalists that have demoed the solution have been anything from impressed to amazed by the experience.

The tech behind the immersive experience

To create such a real-time immersive experience, holoride combines data from several in-vehicle systems, from the accelerometers and gyroscopes that make up a car’s inertial measurement unit to its navigation system. Using this information, it builds a virtual world based on what they refer to as elastic content, that is, content that responds to the vehicle's actual behavior in real-time. And as the car travels towards its destination, its position is continuously tracked by a u‑blox high precision global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver.

“Getting a precise position of the vehicle is crucial to providing a perfect illusion of a moving vehicle in virtual reality. A solid GNSS positioning signal is one fundamental component of that, as we are mapping all our experiences to real world roads,” said Profendiner. “As we build our experiences based on real world road maps, it is crucial for us to be able to pinpoint the vehicle’s positioning in the world as best as possible. The better the positioning is, the better the immersion into our virtual world.”

It will be a few more years before series production vehicles are technologically fit to feed holoride’s virtual reality engine. In the meantime, holoride continues to work with the best content studios, OEMs, and developers to provide unique location-based VR experiences. Location-based VR needs to offer more than putting on a pair of VR goggles at the mall to capture the attention of a broad audience, especially for those who want to be wowed. That’s why holoride continues to offer content riders can’t get anywhere else.

To learn more about holoride, visit www.holoride.com.