Uber Files Patent For VR Self-Driving Cars

The transportation company Uber has recently filed two patent applications that reveal the company has an interest to bring virtual reality (VR) inside its vehicles.

Uber VR Patent 01

Uber might be one of the leaders in transportation but that is not stopping the company from looking at new ways to deliver new experiences to their users. Two patent applications, which are almost identical, were submitted back in 2016 and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last month. As reported by Motherboard the applications titled “Virtual Reality Experience For a Vehicle” argue that repeated commutes over the same routes across the same times of day over and over again are basically wasted time.

The system that Uber is considering would see self-driving car’s sensor data able to generate a unique virtual environment for the rider to experience. This could for example be an action videogame that synchronizes with the motion of the car itself, creating an rail shooter title that could be enjoyed as the ride travels to their destination. This system could also be used to help reduce the amount of motion sickness that comes from VR when using a motion based product.

Uber VR Patent 02

The abstract on the applications states: “A virtual reality system is disclosed that provides autonomous vehicle (AV) sensor data to applications such as games and augmented reality overlays to enhance experiences for riders in the autonomous vehicle. Virtual reality headsets offer users unique and interesting experiences, but when used in a changing environment such as a moving vehicle, external stimuli can impair the virtual reality experience. AV sensors can predict these stimuli so that applications can take measures to reduce their impacts on virtual reality experiences. In addition, sensors can include cameras that send live video feeds to virtual reality devices to render improved views of the environment around the AV and of landmarks in a city. Furthermore, virtual reality devices can take advantage of the computing resources in order to
offer better performance and more features to applications.”

The patent applications go on to talk about how digital representation of other passengers in the vehicle could also be simulated to reduce the chance of anyone bumping into each other. This all sounds interesting and could lead to some exciting journeys but until it is implemented and tested, the outcome is unknown. Uber have been interested in VR and AV for sometime now along with finding new ways to make a journey more personal. Cars have been available in the past with a 1-in-10 chance of a Samsung Gear VR headset waiting in side for riders to user and in India, Uber partnered with OnePlus to give away free Loop VR Headsets.

Neither of the patents have come to fruition as of yet but seeing hopefully we will see Uber reveal the products or something similar in the coming months.

For more stories like this and updates on Uber’s VR plans, keep reading VRFocus.