Holoride takes car passengers to metaverse

In-car entertainment company Holoride launched the production version of its virtual reality entertainment platform as it looks to establish its lane in the growing in-vehicle entertainment market.

The Holoride offering — which uses real-time motion data from the vehicle combined with unique content to create immersive VR entertainment experiences for passengers — will be available in Germany in mid-November and in the U.S. in early 2023.

Touted as a theme park in motion or ride in the “motorverse,” the company will offer its service as an add-on package for Holoride-ready 2023 model-year Audi vehicles. It has plans to expand the package to other automakers in the near future.

The tech entertainment company, founded by Audi and later spun off into an independent company, uses several system components to record a vehicle’s motion data to the VR headset in an encrypted format to create its immersive experiences. Holoride announced its vehicle integration with Audi at South by Southwest 2022.

“By integrating holoride in our models, we’re redefining in-car entertainment,” Giorgio Delucchi, head of digital experience/business at Audi, said in a statement. “Through combining real-time vehicle data and virtual content, we’re creating an entirely new customer experience.”

Owners of Holoride-ready vehicles will need to purchase the launch package. In Europe, the company priced the launch package, Pioneers’ Pack, at the equivalent of $692. It includes an HTC VIVE Flow VR headset, which is lighter than conventional VR headsets; a Pro 2 Gamepad controller; a safety strap that provides added safety protection for users; and a one-year subscription to the Holoride service.

After the first year, the Holoride subscription will be about $20 per month or $180 for an annual subscription.

U.S. pricing will be comparable to pricing in Europe. Holoride customers can contact the company directly if they have an operational question or issue with the in-vehicle VR entertainment package.

“Most solutions for cars are … detached from the consumer electronic world and the home entertainment world,” Holoride CEO Nils Wollny told Automotive News. “We tried … to make it as convenient as possible for passengers to get the next generation in-car entertainment with the convenience and price points of consumer electronics.”

According to a report from Fortune Business Insights, the automotive infotainment market is expected to reach $20.5 billion by 2026, compared with $11.9 billion in 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in the automotive industry.

Wollny said Holoride realized, early in its development, that there was an untapped market in the in-vehicle entertainment sector, especially regarding teenage passengers.

“They are the perfect focus point for us because they like the tech, they like gaming, and they are the next generation of car users,” he said.

The Holoride launch package, available in Germany at shop.holoride.com, includes the game Cloudbreaker: Leaving Haven, from Schell Games. Superconductor creative agency, founded by directors Justin Lin of the Fast & Furious movie franchise and Anthony Russo and Joe Russo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, produced the game.

In addition to Cloudbreaker, subscribers can access other games and educational entertainment. Holoride will add more content options in subsequent weeks and months, according to company officials.

The Holoride platform also has a smartphone-mirroring feature that enables passengers to stream media, surf the web and interact on social networks on a virtual screen extending to a perceived 180 inches when using the VR headset.

Holoride’s content slate could eventually include immersive health and wellness experiences, expanding the consumer market for Holoride well beyond teenagers, Wollny said.

Holoride has worked to reduce motion sickness among users by incorporating vehicle steering, braking and acceleration data to match what riders see in the headset with what they feel outside of VR.

Wollny said Holoride’s technology redefines the vehicle as a spatial device, helping to drive in-car passenger experiences in the new digital realm referred to as the metaverse.

“We start with virtual reality, too, but it’s always tied to the real world,” said the Holoride CEO.

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