Kish Hirani Talks To Porsche On The Future Of VR and AR In The Automotive Industry (Updated)
Former Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and PSVR man discusses cars with the German manufacturer.
How exactly do you sell a car? What is the thought process that goes into it? Is it all about the journey outside, getting from A-B with the least fuss possible or is it perhaps the journey inside. The comfort, the ride, the experience you get driving the car. Practicality against luxury. Engineering against design. Productivity against feel. How can you connect with your audience? Moreover, how can you create a mix of the two schools of thought and visualise what you’re creating?
Car manufacturers are increasingly turning to the digital world in order to create both the design and the connection, with an example being the increasing occurrences of cars being a part of videogame conferences. If you can remember this happening you’re most likely remembering this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California. During the event Porsche announced a brand new sportscar, the 911 GT2 RS. It was also revealed as being both in and the cover star of the equally just announced Forza Motorsport 7.
Porsche are also interested in virtual reality (VR) technologies and the possibilities they could, in theory unlock. They have already dipped into virtual reality twice already with experiences revolving around their Panamera and 911 GT3 cars but with German rivals BMW and Audi looking into immersive technologies, Ford utilising Microsoft’s Hololens, other parts of the motoring industry investing and experimenting with VR and industry surveys backing up its use .It makes sense for Porsche to ask the question what VR, mixed reality (MR) or augmented reality (AR) could do for the company.
As such, on their official website they recently released a feature interview with Kish Hirani. Hirani is presently self-employed and working as a consultant on videogames, mostly within the VR/AR sphere and is the Chair at diversity in videogaming development advocacy group BAME in Games. Prior to this spent eight years at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, which included work championing the PlayStation VR. Porsche also mention Hirani working with augmented reality (AR) from when it was a feature on the PlayStation Portable (PSP), the PlayStation Vita and on PlayStation 3 through the peripheral Wonderbook.
Indeed, it is the latter he is highly enthused about. “Nowadays, you can point a smartphone at an object and get more information about it straight away. Above and beyond what you see before you in the real world. That’s AR. It’s going to grow.”
Hirani also notes that teaming AR with artificial intelligence (A.I.) would be beneficial. “Learning-enabled artificial intelligence has reached this level in the meantime. A computer can register some things much faster and more precisely than possibly the eye can. You have this wonderfully large surface directly in front of you and it can be used for more than just looking through.”
“It’s very interesting to see a document on how a car will be made. With virtual reality, however, you can see how your own car is being made. It isn’t safe for you to stand by the assembly line in the factory, but, in the virtual environment, you can watch it with your own eyes. You don’t have to wait until the day you buy your car to get to know it, you can start much sooner in the development stage. It’s important to know everything about your vehicle. When you have a car that offers so much power and technology, it’s also exciting to take a look under the bonnet.” Later adding that there’s also an educational slant to doing things this way. “You can visualise how the power flows and the paths it follows, how mechanisms and motors work together.”
Update: The story has been updated with new information to clarify Mr. Hirani’s present role and former work with AR.