Automotive industry

The State of XR in the Automotive Industry

Imagine a world where you can experience the features of your new car from the comfort of your new home or see all the information you need while driving projected onto your windshield. The future of XR (Extended Reality) in the automotive industry is defined by meaningful and engaging experiences designed to make us safer on the road and improve the way we travel.

Already, we’ve seen a number of leading companies in the automotive landscape experiment with what’s possible in XR. Maruti Suzuki has set up a chain of simulation-based training centers in India, while Ford has created a virtual laboratory for prototype design.

Let’s take a closer look at how XR is influencing the automotive industry today.

The evolution of XR in the automotive industry

XR, from mixed reality training experiences to VR production processes, has a lot of value to bring to the automotive industry. Even before many other industries began to explore the potential of extended reality, automakers were looking for ways to save time and money on vehicle production.

Mixed reality tools and VR environments are ideal for blueprints and prototyping, in an environment where working with physical resources would be extremely expensive. XR can also help automotive companies unlock safer training environments. Here are some of the ways XR is influencing the automotive industry today:

  • Improved training opportunities: Mixed reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality experiences can all help vehicle drivers master their driving skills wherever they are. Pilots and drivers responsible for complex vehicles like tanks and military solutions can take training from the comfort of their own home. Companies like Varjo Aero and Boeing are already experimenting with on-the-go virtual training experiences.
  • Improved customer experience: XR solutions are great for improving the customer experience, especially in an environment where a car isn’t always available in a showroom for a customer to explore. AR and VR offerings can allow customers to experience the functionality of a new vehicle remotely, in a safe environment.
  • Best troubleshooting opportunities: Imagine a mechanic being able to fix your car’s problems remotely, rather than having to tow your vehicle to a shop. This could be an option for an extended reality future. Porsche technicians have already begun to take advantage of AR glasses that allow them to see schematic illustrations of vehicles in real time, resulting in a 40% reduction in service resolution time.
  • Strengthened collaboration: True innovation in any industry happens when people can work more effectively together. In the XR landscape, team members can work together on everything from designing new prototypes to fixing potential car performance issues. Mechanics could even use AR glasses to get guidance and support from manufacturers when working on cars.

Trends favoring XR in field services

Just a few years ago, in 2019, VR in the automotive market was worth around $759.3 million. Today, experts predict that the market could grow to an incredible $14.7 billion by 2027. In recent years, companies have discovered how important it is to take advantage of the latest technologies to minimize new vehicle design costs and improve productivity.

During the pandemic, a large number of companies first started experimenting with the possibilities of XR. Since then, interest in this technology has grown steadily. As we move forward into the future of the automotive industry, we can expect to see trends such as:

  • Virtual prototyping and digital twins: Producing physical versions of vehicle prototypes is often a time-consuming and expensive process. Not to mention that the use of various resources has a direct impact on the planet. With extended reality, companies can create digital twins of potential products and use apps to make designs in a virtual world. Prototyping in XR dramatically reduces costs and allows employees to experiment with design ideas faster. Companies like Ford are already using virtual reality in prototyping.
  • Autonomous cars: It may be some time before we all have access to fully autonomous vehicles. Before we can reach this point in the future of the automotive landscape, vehicle systems must learn to react to various situations. Automotive virtual reality can allow companies to simulate the test driving experience for AI and machine learning algorithms. This helps reduce repair and fuel expenses for real-world testing.
  • Intelligent Terrain Mapping: Mercedes Benz introduced true “next level” augmented reality terrain mapping in 2020. This solution implements AR navigation in a screen environment on the dashboard, so customers can access more valuable information by real time. AR and MR technology could bring vital information to the head-up display on your windshield, for real-time directions, guidance and advice on maintaining safety.
  • Intuitive road safety: By bringing more information to the area in front of your face as you drive, extended reality solutions can improve driver safety on the road. These tools can help with automated parking support, to ensure that users can correctly measure the distance between themselves and another car. Meanwhile, access to AR and MR solutions means it’s easier to prevent users from accessing their smartphones and other distracting devices while driving.
  • Virtual showrooms and metaverse: Virtual showrooms have already started to impact CX in the digital world. As we move forward into the era of the metaverse, we could see companies creating even more immersive experiences for customers who are learning about the latest technologies. Companies could even create virtual versions of products for customers to “own and drive” in gaming environments.

Towards a Future of XR in Automotive

There are countless examples of automotive companies already experimenting with the possibilities of an XR-enhanced future. With the emergence of solutions for training and development, there is no limit to what we could accomplish in the future.

However, there are a few challenges to overcome first. For example, developers will need to ensure that AR windshields and MR experiences aren’t too distracting to drivers behind the wheel. Additionally, VR construction apps and tools will need to be intuitive enough to ensure team adoption. If we can overcome these challenges, a future in XR automotive experiences may not be too far away.