It is gradually becoming more common to see passengers on a train or airplane wearing a virtual reality headset such as a Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream to escape the tedium of long-distance travel. Ubisoft are taking this idea a few steps further by putting a VR headset in a car.
A great deal of attention has been given to autonomous cars recently, with experts and commentators discussing their implications on the economy, technology and even ethics. The ideal behind self-driving cars is to free humans from the work of driving to allow for more relaxation and leisure, something which Ubisoft have embraced with its concept that pairs a VR headset with a Renault autonomous car.
The person sitting in what would normally be the driver’s seat puts on a VR headset, and as the car makes it’s way towards its destination, the human user gets to experience a VR landscape which reacts dynamically to the data captured by the car in order to produce an experience that is unique to each journey.
Anyone who has spent any time driving down a motorway will be familiar with the tedium of the endless empty miles of featureless concrete, Ubisoft’s system aims to combat this boredom by sweeping the user away to a fantasy landscape, but also combatting any simulation sickness by using the motion and data of the car itself to generate the experience.
Of course, the vehicle and its VR headset are simply proof-of-concept experiments at the moment, as self-driving cars face a raft of regulations, technical challenges and objections before they can begin to become a common sight on our roads.
If and when VR in cars does become more common, VRFocus will be there to report on it.