“Holokraktor” demos potential of Augmented Reality in the car

“Holokraktor” demos potential of Augmented Reality in the car

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The Swiss technology company WayRay has already demonstrated the advantages of holographic displays in vehicles and has won the sports car manufacturer Porsche as a development partner. Now the Zurich engineers are going one step further and showing a concept car whose windscreen is completely designed as augmented reality (AR) displays.

The concept vehicle with the somewhat unwieldy name Holograktor is electrically driven, offers space for three people and is designed as a ride-hailing vehicle. It can be steered conventionally – with a driver at the wheel. Or by remote control via a 5G and satellite connection. What is really innovative, however, is the “Deep Reality Display” with which the car is equipped, an AR head-up display (WayRay has copyrighted the name “True AR” for its technology). This allows virtual images to be displayed from various distances.

The holographic displays take up only a tenth of the space of a conventional dashboard HUD; moreover, they are said to offer significant improvements in distance to virtual content, colour saturation and accuracy. The Swiss inventors have integrated the displays into the vehicle’s electronics so that they can share the signals from the on-board environment sensors (cameras, radar, lidar) and the existing data networks. The system offers vehicle occupants an “immersive” experience through its holographic projections on the windscreen as well as on the side windows, says the manufacturer.

The system is not only, not even primarily, focused on traffic-related display content. Rather, the company wants to enable passengers to also consume videos and other digital content computer games while driving – indeed, that is the reason why the car is primarily designed for ride-hailing applications. “This is a car designed specifically for zoomers,” says WayRay founder Vitali Ponomarev. “It’s for people who want to play and create and consume content.”

The creators of this technology thus envision a usage model where ride-hailing providers like Uber come into play. The Interior layout, with a single “throne” as the back seat, was inspired by data showing that more than 80 per cent of Uber rides carry only one person. That’s why the single seat in the back row has its own holographic projector; the technology for it is in an eye-catching attachment on the roof, called a “shrimp” by the scoops. But it is not only the passenger in the rear single seat who can access “his” private display. Each seat is equipped with equal numbers of Deep Reality Display holographic HUDs at the front and sides, as well as joysticks for gaming and interacting with content.

“The idea is that you can choose Uber Black, Uber SUV or Uber Hologractor, and if you choose the hologractor, your ride will be subsidised by sponsored content, so the price will be much lower,” Ponomarev explains of his usage concept.

WayRay claims it is currently the only company capable of designing and manufacturing complex deep reality displays based on Deep Reality Display technology of holographic optical elements and rendering the content in real time around the vehicle using proprietary True ARTM rendering engine software. Backed by early investments from companies such as Porsche, Hyundai and Alibaba, WayRay is using the holographic car to move up from its status as a “deep tech” automotive supplier into the world of new mobility models.

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The right balance: A glimpse to future car HMIs

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