Volvo Cars and Varjo, the Finnish maker of high-end augmented-reality headsets, have created a mixed-reality approach to evaluating prototypes, designs and active safety technologies.
The technology has made it possible to drive a real car while wearing a mixed-reality headset, seamlessly adding virtual elements or complete features that seem real to both the driver and the car’s sensors, for development purposes.
The Varjo XR-1 headset provides photorealistic mixed or virtual reality at a high-definition resolution and can, the companies say, radically reduce development timeframes by creating the new ability to evaluate features and designs almost immediately.
Safety experts are able to drive real cars while wearing the XR-1 headset at Volvo’s research facilities in Sweden, testing virtual active safety systems imposed via augmented reality on the real-life environment.
“With this mixed-reality approach, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “Instead of the usual static way of evaluating new products and ideas, we can test concepts on the road immediately. This approach offers considerable potential cost savings by identifying priorities and clearing bottlenecks much earlier in the design and development process.”