Let's look at what AR can do for the Automobile Industry!
From head-up displays popping on the windscreen to touring cars in virtual showrooms to unleashing self-driving cars on the roads, science-fiction dreams are becoming a reality sooner than anticipated. Automobile manufacturers and dealers are incorporating bleeding-edge technologies to deliver unparalleled services, enhance the safety of vehicles and redefine the way we travel. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are foraying into the automobile industry and transforming the design, development, manufacturing and marketing process and even the car buying experience.
Despite the pandemic-induced slowdown, the automotive industry is refusing to decelerate. According to the stats – the automotive AR and VR market is projected to register a growth of $5.10 billion during 2021-2025, accelerating at a CAGR of 32 percent. Ripe for disruption, the automotive industry is experimenting with AR and VR to finetune the entire value chain, from R&D to manufacturing, marketing and sales, as well as the automobiles.
Virtual and Metaverse showrooms
Up until now, the car buying experience has been synonymous with a visit to the dealership. With the advent of virtual showrooms and even car dealerships in the metaverse, dealers can demonstrate a wide range of cars in a virtual environment to their consumers. Just a few years ago, in 2019, the VR automotive market had a value of about $759.3 million only. Within a short span of time, the market is forecasted to surpass $14.7 billion by 2027.
High-end brands and pre-owned car dealerships are embracing this technology trend to showcase their collection remotely. Customers can walk around the vehicles, step inside them, or even take virtual test rides within the virtual environment. With virtual showrooms, customers can save time and cost by avoiding travelling to various dealerships and seeing a VR version of the vehicle from the comfort of their homes. Similarly, car dealers can save overheads on car showrooms and demonstrations.
Image Credits: Zumoko
AR-based head-up displays
Mass adoption of Augmented Reality applications across industries has compelled automobile leaders to harness the technology to enhance intuitive road safety. By displaying relevant information and alerts before the driver, AR-based head-up displays (HUDs) can improve the safety of drivers on the road. Additionally, augmented reality can help with automated parking support, distance and speed assistance, lane-keeping prompts and navigation, among others. Active access to AR solutions makes it easier for the driver to avoid distractions from their smartphones, devices or surroundings when at the helm. AR has found a strong foothold when it comes to car safety features.
Self-driving car testing
Perhaps the most significant technological milestone in the automobile industry is the prospect of a driverless car. But a constant roadblock keeping automakers from unleashing these self-driving cars on the roads is safety. With the advent of VR and AR, automakers and developers have breathed a sigh of relief as they begin mass testing the cars aided by VR and AR technology. Using simulators and sensors, autonomous vehicles can be tested for hours at end and built to perfection. Additionally, automakers can create specific physical conditions in a virtual environment to test the efficiency of the car without having to bear heavy expenditure.
A common practice for car manufacturers is to produce physical prototypes to help test and refine design, development and safety concepts which can be expensive and time-consuming. Using VR-powered prototyping, automakers can create digital twins of the vehicles and enjoy greater flexibility in modifying concepts, fine-tuning limitations and experimenting with designs while reducing costs. VR allows automakers and designers to visualize the finished product before the final product is ready. Companies such as Ford are already using VR in prototyping to enhance creative freedom and reduce the direct impact on the planet.
The Road Ahead
High safety standards, evolving customer expectations and fierce competition have compelled the automobile industry to experiment with AR and VR technologies. Today’s experiments with VR and AR will allow automakers to build the safest and most innovative vehicles for tomorrow. Engaging customers with extended reality solutions will enable dealers to overcome the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and boost sales as well as enhance customer experience. With breakthroughs in technology such as AR and VR, there is no limit to what automotive manufacturers and dealers can achieve in the coming near future.
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