Step aside VR car simulations, there’s a new mixed reality driving experience from BMW that lets you drive a real car while hooked up to a VR headset.
Yep, you can now drive a car while wearing a VR headset – sounds pretty scary, right? Well, this new experience dubbed the M Mixed Reality allows someone to get behind the wheel of BMW’s shiny new M2 and tackle a virtual race course while driving the actual car.
First, let us address the elephant in the room. Safety. The idea of someone having the power 453 horsepower and the ability to go from 0-60 in 4.1 seconds while having a VR headset strapped to their head, sounds like a recipe for disaster. However, the driver can see the M2’s actual dashboard and their own hands, then the view outside of the car changes to that of the cyberpunk-themed VR track.
There’s also an instructor in the passenger seat who can give extra guidance if needed and has their own brake pedal that they can use in an emergency. All of the movement and rotary axes of the M2 are taken into account and precise laser head tracking ensures that the driver can get around the BMW test track safely.
Future potential for mixed reality experiences
For a lot of people, VR can be an extremely fun experience, but one that comes with a significant downside; motion sickness. When your body is stationary but your eyes are processing movement, it can often trigger motion sickness. This experience tackles the issue since you’re able to actually feel and hear that you are moving in the real world too, and not just sitting still while zipping around a race track.
The mixed reality experience has been noted to present an opportunity for professional racing drivers, as they can use the VR experience as a far more immersive training tool than most driving simulators can offer.
Although it would seem there is potential beyond just that. Mixed reality VR experiences could prove learning material for learners or even train professional skills such as evasive driving, road police manoeuvres and even speed responses for fire and ambulance services. Sure ‘real world’ training would be needed too, but with VR, one real track could be home to hundreds of training programs.