3 min read

Holoride is the Metaverse for Car Passengers

Where will we use VR? Given the current form factors for VR headsets, it’s still unclear how they will enter our lives. Obviously, we will use them in our homes. But will VR headsets become common in corporate offices? Will people use VR headsets in public spaces like coffee shops? And what about in transit like the bus, train, or plane?

We’re nowhere near able to say for sure how societal behavior will accept VR headsets into everyday life. So any answer is a possibility at this time.

One company is making the case for using immersive devices in the automobile.

The Tech

A company called Holoride has pioneered a new concept for VR experiences that revolve around car rides – using the car's motion data (mph, turns, acceleration, location, etc.) to alter the content in the headset in real-time.

Germany’s Holoride wants to break the curse of juvenile impatience with the help of VR headsets that turn car trips into immersive gaming sessions and theme park rides. Ultimately, Holoride wants to become an immersive motion entertainment platform for the future of transportation.

“We are not a VR company,” he [CEO Nils Wollny] said. “We built a motion- and location-aware platform for content in moving vehicles.” This could even involve using the car’s cabin lights or massage seats for feedback. “It could bring a new level of immersion to the interiors of cars.” – Protocol

Holoride unveiled its first consumer product in Germany last Wednesday, November 2, 2022. At €699, their Pioneer’s Pack includes an HTC Vive Flow VR headset, a game controller, an additional safety strap, and one year of access to Holoride’s software catalog. The platform has a handful of games and a few apps.

At launch, the Holoride motion entertainment platform only supports 2023 Audi models. But they will eventually expand to other car manufacturers and media formats beyond VR.

The Use Cases

Gaming – This is the most straightforward use for Holoride. For example, the Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven game allows players to steer a flying robot through enemy skies. When the car turns, the motion is repeated in the game, and any acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle are also reflected in the gameplay.

Entertainment – Holoride offers smartphone mirroring so you can stream Netflix or watch YouTube, but I see developers imagining new forms of storytelling that are responsive to vehicle movement.

Wellness – Meditation and breathing apps could be particularly well-suited for using Holoride during ride-sharing, offering a means to take care of mental health during a car ride.

Productivity – Work tools are being developed for VR platforms that bring a person’s workspace into a virtual environment.

Social – Holoride could help introduce new ways to connect with other drivers or riders on the road in an immersive, location-based environment.

My Take

I think utilizing the car as a medium for metaverse creation and worldbuilding is fascinating because it dynamically connects the metaverse to what’s happening outside of the headset.

Waze gave us an accurate (albeit limited) glimpse of what the social graph of cars could be and how that could lead to an informative social experience in everything from hazards to traffic and even police speed traps. Holoride is positioned to have the same sort of wildly-unique user impact but through immersion.

Introducing motion data as an input for metaverse experiences is a new concept that can shift environments in unexpected ways. With the Holoride platform, developers will be able to bring entertainment and productivity experiences that were previously unavailable to the rider in ways we have yet to consider.

This is just the beginning for the metaverse entering spaces beyond room-scale experiences that we've come to expect with oculus Quest and other VR headsets. Not to mention, the connection between the car and the device is one that Holoride will easily be able to upgrade without requiring a new device (like how Tesla owners can constantly update their cars without having to buy a new one).

I imagine that this will be an Audi-exclusive experience for quite some time. Still, every car manufacturer should consider how the passenger experience can be improved with immersive tools.