Cars and the automotive industry as a whole have become the forefront of technology. Gone are the days of mechanical machines that were used to get from point A to B. Now your car gets over the air updates and evolves into something better like your smartphone and your laptop. Another new technology that has been popping up in cars is Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality can be defined as a system that incorporates three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects. Augmented reality is quite new to cars and currently, only a few high-end cars boast this feature. But in no time you will see this feature in something like a 2021 Toyota Corolla or a 2021 GMC Sierra.
There are even rumors floating about the revised 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser getting some Augmented Reality powered navigation. The potential here is limitless and only time will tell how far Augmented Reality will go on in cars. Here are a few applications and features we will witness in automobiles that utilize the power of Augmented Reality. We can break down the possible applications of Augmented Reality into two distinct bits. One is in the Production Phase and one is in the Product Phase
Production Phase Applications
Testing and Pre-Production
Augmented Reality can play a crucial role in the pre-production and design phase of vehicles. It can pose as a faster and more economical route as opposed to spending on physical models. It is useful in building responsive virtual testing environments which will help reduce spending on staffing, operational costs, and more.
Augmented reality can create hypothetical (but realistic) scenarios through which the component design could be perfected before putting it into production. These virtual scenarios can factor in dynamic elements like movement, stress, speed, and even terrain type.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management
Augmented Reality is also quickly becoming a critical component of the manufacturing process. Enhancement of worker training can help increase an automobile manufacturer's quality assurance. This technology can also be used in improving accuracy and consistency throughout the supply chain and help save money by reducing money on materials and waste. Technicians will be able to view and analyze each and every part of the car on a hyper-granular level. The more they learn, the better will be the production quality in the long run.
Product Phase Applications
Augmented Reality systems could be most useful in enhancing the safety quotient of modern cars. Already many manufacturers have incorporated Augmented Reality into the infotainment system and Heads-Up Displays, to help focus the driver's attention on the road instead of fidgeting with the navigation.
Augmented reality technology is already being used by car brands like:
It is also being used in the proximity guides and rearview cameras so that drivers can gauge the distance between obstacles while reversing quite easily. AR also adds to the realism and increases clarity levels. It is also being used to enhance the 3D surround view system in many cars. AR-based parking assistance is already underway in the new 2021 Mercedes Benz S-Class. With the help of AR, the new S-Class can maneuver itself through car parks and find a parking spot all on its own.
Along with AR built into infotainment navigation and heads-up displays, it could also be used to show real-world points of interest like a video game. It will help drivers easily locate everything from parking options to the nearest gas station on your way to your next destination.
Enhanced Entertainment and Connectivity
From the moment you approach your car, AR and AI can sense your presence and through internet access and smartphone integration make you completely connected to your car at all times. This will help enhance the drive and make your experience effortless and easy.
Taking a call or receiving an important email could be dangerous while driving. Through the use of AR, it could be directly integrated into the heads-up display and you can even reply to it using your car's microphone. AR technology could be even more seamless with the advent of smart wearables integration. BMW is also working on integrating its gesture control with Augmented Reality to make the experience even more seamless and easy.
Future Growth of Industry as a whole
Experts expect the Augmented/Virtual reality industry will reach a value bubble of about $637 billion by the year 2025. The automotive industry has already adopted this technology with new cars hitting the market every few months.
Augmented Reality is working towards making the drive safer and making the users feel more connected than ever with their vehicles. It is still a relatively new technology with the true potential still unknown. Who knows in a few decades we might see fully virtual cockpits and fully remotely controlled cars through the use of Augmented Reality.