Using VR in the car sounds like a great way to kill some time on long road trips, but there’s a few factors that may stop you from strapping a headset to your face while in the passenger’s seat—namely motion sickness, unexpected turning, and lack of compelling content. Audi wants to change this with a new technology unveiled at CES this week.

The carmaker has co-founded a start-up named holoride which is commercializing a platform that’ll integrate the car’s movement into VR content, letting backseat passengers view video, and play games and experiences using a VR headset. The platform is slated to be open, and available to all carmakers and content developers in the future, the company says.

Audi and holoride are demoing the VR implementation using an Avengers-themed experience called Marvel Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run, an in-car VR experience for backseat passengers built by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences.

“Wearing VR glasses, the passenger in an Audi e-tron is transported into a fantastical depiction of outer space: The Audi e-tron now functions as the ship manned by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as the passenger makes their way through an asteroid field together with Rocket, a character that will appear in Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame in spring 2019. Every movement of the car is reflected in the experience in real time. If the car turns a tight corner, the player curves around an opposing spaceship in virtual reality. If the Audi e-tron accelerates, the ship in the experience does the same.”

The startup will provide a software development kit that they say “serves as the interface to the vehicle data and transfers those into virtual realities, allowing developers to create worlds that can be experienced in-car with all of the senses,” the company says in a press statement.

Image courtesy Audi, holoride

One of the advertised benefits to this system is less chance of motion sickness, which occurs when a VR user perceives motion that doesn’t match up with what they expect. Audi says the visual experience and the user’s actual perception are synchronized, making conventional movies, TV or presentations capable of being viewed with what they call “a significantly reduced chance of motion sickness.”

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“Audi, Marvel and Disney Games and Interactive Experiences are celebrating Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary with an Avengers experience that combines world class content and innovative technology,” said Mike Goslin, Vice President, Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. “While this CES demo was developed purely in the spirit of exploration and experimentation, we are constantly evaluating emerging technologies to enhance our stories and experiences.”

Audi’s co-founded startup holoride intends to launch its integrated VR system within the next three years using standard VR headsets for backseat passengers. The company maintains that the long-term roadmap could see things like traffic events becoming a part of the experience, i.e. if you stop at a traffic light you could encounter unexpected obstacles in a game or interrupt a learning program with a quick quiz.

A similar system has also been proposed by Apple of all companies, although the Cupertino-based tech giant admittedly has done anything public with its patent yet.

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  • Justin Davis

    Why would you take something that already gives some people motion sickness (being a car passenger) and add something that causes many people motion sickness (VR)?

    • Johan Pruijs

      You are wrong about that. If/when the images are in sinc with your body movement then there is no motion sickness. Imaging in the glasses you are on a magic carpet and all the movements of the car are translated/rotated towards your virtual world then that would be very immersive. (I have experimented myself with the concept of motion sims and its is a difference of night and day )

      • Justin Davis

        What am I wrong about? Some people get motion sickness in cars, and many people get motion sickness from VR. Both are facts. I personally do not get motion sickness, but many people that try my Vive or Rift do. I think getting the car movement in sync with the headset images will be difficult without causing motion sickness for some people.

        • Ombra Alberto

          If you suffer from car sickness, no one forces you to enter VR.
          Personal choices. You suffer badly from cars do not enter.

          • Alexisms

            I think the point he’s trying to make is that why put a niche product like vr that causes motion sickness in a car which already causes motion sickness. You’re carving out a niche business out of an already niche business.

      • That’s a neat bit of software, and really, the ONLY possible game that could work. Otherwise, any other VR experience would be awful. It would literally have to turn with the car every second, with no lag, and be a game that had no hand controllers for safety.

  • doug

    They could call it “the Oblivatron.”

  • flamaest

    Do you get a barf bag with this?

  • I’m not very convinced. How can the game designer design an app without knowing what will be the path that the car will follow?

  • This is a terrible idea. First off, the motion sickness mentioned by others, and secondly, who needs a flailing blind person in the backseat, possibly punching the windows, or even the driver?

  • Jimbo

    I don’t get it. So, I am in a car which gives me motion sickness despite the scenery being perfectly synchronized with car movement. How watching a synchronized with the car movement video or playing a game on top of that could possibly improve the motion sickness? Doesn’t make sense.