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Driving a Real Car in VR Takes a Step Towards Reality with NVIDIA’s Holodeck

Racing around tracks in virtual reality (VR) can be great fun, really showcasing how immersive the technology can be. But how about taking that principle and combining it with the real world, so you’re actually driving a real car. Well that’s just what NVIDIA has been showing off today during CEO Jensen Huang’s keynote address at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2018.

Nvidia Holodeck Car1

A big part of NVIDIA’s keynote address was focused on self-driving cars and its AI autonomous vehicle platform DRIVE, which has been designed to help automakers create safe self-driving vehicles by putting the AI through a series of virtual environments, simulating various hazards along the way.

But that’s not all the company has been working on. Combining NVIDIA’s Holodeck with a VR setup including a HTC Vive, racing seat and steering wheel, plus a car kitted out to control it remotely, NVIDIA showcased someone inside the convention hall driving a car parked outside whilst wearing the headset.

What they could see was a digital representation of the car inside Holodeck, with cameras side the vehicle providing a view of the outside world. They could then drive the car around as if they were playing an actual videogame, albeit very slowly as they were in a car park and didn’t want to hit anyone.

Nvidia Holodeck Car2

It’s certainly an interesting use of the technology and could have massive uses in the future when it comes to sports. Drivers would no longer be in danger from crashing so it would become very safe. As such safety features for the cars could be dispensed with, making them lighter and faster. On the extreme side, emulating films like Death Race, the cars could be equipped with all sorts of offensive and defensive capabilities to make it a visual spectacle for the audience.

Drone racing for example already uses VR headsets so that racers all sit together in one location, while the drones are flown around a set course in a warehouse. With NVIDIA’s tech this could just be upscaled to bigger vehicles.

Of course there a far more practical and serious applications for the technology. Being able to transport yourself inside an autonomous vehicle or robot that can reach dangerous areas or to help save a life. Whatever happens, VRFocus will always keep you updated on the latest use cases for VR.