Virtual reality still seems like technology that should be lumped in with the flying car and colonizing the moon as the sort of perennially "almost-here" Next Big Thing that never quite arrives. However, devices like gaming's Oculus Rift suggests that it's too soon to write off VR just yet, and Audi apparently agrees.
The heart of its new VR Experience is a headset that customers wear that lets them see a virtual car before their eyes. Using the technology, the potential buyer can sit behind the wheel or open up the trunk. A camera tracks their head movements and adjusts the image on the goggles accordingly. To make the whole experience even more immersive, headphones let them hear the sound of the door or listen to the radio.
The German automaker claims that the VR Experience technology will be available in "dynamic growth markets" by the end of 2015. The system will essentially offer the entire dealership experience in a device the size of a briefcase, and it'll be possible to view every possible equipment combination and color on all of the brand's models.
The immersive hardware sounds amazing, if it's as good as the automaker claims. Among other things, VR will allow buyers to pick out just the right color and trim, even if the dealer doesn't have that specific combo in stock. Read below for Audi's announcement of this sci-fi gadget that the company claims is on the way.
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Audi is taking the next big step in integrating digital technologies into automotive retail: The Audi VR experience gives customers the opportunity to configure their preferred car at the dealership through virtual reality headsets and experience it in a unprecedentedly realistic way. The headset showcases the entire model portfolio of the four rings, including all possible equipment combinations. Audi has become the first automotive manufacturer to develop a dedicated retail software solution for virtual reality headsets.
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