Automotive

Audi’s Holoride is a VR experience like no other

Back seat car rides will never be the same again

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It had been a long day, but I could still barely contain my excitement as a fancy car whizzed me down the interstate to a race track on the outskirts of Las Vegas, one chilly evening before the start of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. 

While the in-seat back massage made me wish the ride was longer, I also couldn’t wait to get there. Tonight would be my first time in an e-Tron, Audi’s new fully electric SUV, and my first taste of what Audi calls the future of mobility, one with entertainment content at its center.

It’s an interesting proposition, one I’m more than willing to chew on. With self-driving vehicles on the horizon, tonight, instead of getting behind the wheel, I take a back seat, put on a VR headset, and trade my current reality for one that promises to be more exhilarating.

Called “Rocket’s Rescue Run,” it’s the first title in a collaboration between Marvel and Disney and Audi’s new spin off venture Holoride, that aims to make VR entertainment a mainstay in cars of the future.

As the e-tron’s driver steps on the accelerator, in my alternate universe my ship surges through space. I’m joined by my sidekick Rocket Raccoon, and together we team up to help Iron Man take down a mob of Thanos’ space goons.

I’ve had many VR experiences before, but none like this. As soon as the SUV pulls away, the whole experience makes perfect sense. Every twist, every sharp turn, every bit of acceleration or sudden brake is matched by the same sensation in the game. For the entire 5-minute ride, my body is tricked into believing this reality. Not an easy feat for an utterly nitpicky tech journalist, I can only begin to imagine how big of a technical challenge it was to pull off.

I wield my laser gun like a pro, take down an evil mothership, and celebrate our victory with fireworks. The experience ends, and the e-tron stops. Reluctantly, I take off my headset. It feels like I’ve just been on a theme park ride, but from the privacy of my own car — well, not really, but I wish — and without standing in an hour-long line. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that during my adventure the e-tron reached speeds of up to 90mph. We’ve navigated plenty of sharp turns, too, but I don’t feel so woozy.

Supposedly matching the car’s movements to the virtual reality experience helps in mitigating nausea. As I get out, I thank my driver, but also can’t help but imagine a world that’s driver-optional.

At CES, we saw Audi’s vision of the future, a concept car called the Aicon, with an interior that resembles more of a lounge than a current automobile. As with Holoride, the development of Aicon represents a shift in the idea of mobility, one that’s ushered in by a focus on passengers instead of drivers. Together, Aicon and Holoride make perfect sense in a future world of fully autonomous vehicles. If no one is driving, what else are we to do?

Anything you want to, apparently. Cars are now seen as multi-purpose spaces, just another room that we occupy as we travel from place to place: be it a relaxation pod, a meeting room, or your own private cinema.

The team behind Holoride is most invested in the latter, creating entertainment experiences that are just long enough to fill the entire duration of your trip. They’re calling it “elastic content,” VR games and adventures that automatically adjust to congestion and shortcuts, so that you’re never left without something to occupy you.

Together, Aicon and Holoride make perfect sense in a future world of fully autonomous vehicles.”

Soon, Holoride plans to open its technology to more car manufacturers, content creators, and game developers. The goal is for a wide range of immersive experiences, customized to events in the real world like traffic jams or stop lights, and for those experiences to be available in more car brands. Apart from games, like the one I played, the company is also planning movies, interactive features, and educational tours. Indeed, the type of content you could enjoy is limited only by the imagination.

A few minutes later, I find myself getting another back massage inside another chauffeured Audi A8, making our way back into downtown Las Vegas. These days, when I do travel by car, the experience is similar to this, albeit less fancy. I’m bored, maybe antsy or impatient, in the back seat, with only my phone and social media to distract me. I hadn’t given it much thought till today, but in a world where one constantly thirsts for something to capture one’s attention, I can certainly see how “content will be a major driving force for the mobility experience of the future.”

The day is almost over and I am exhausted. I recline my chair, close my eyes, and enjoy the back massage for a few minutes more. I dream I am back in the e-tron, and wonder when this future will arrive, what it would be like if the next Avengers movie was interactive, and most importantly, what it would be like to watch it from the back seat of a fully autonomous Audi.

Automotive

Save with Honda’s fuel-efficient vehicles, PMS

The Honda BR-V, City, and Brio

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With fuel prices skyrocketing lately in the Philippines, it makes sense to invest in a fuel-efficient car complemented by regular Periodic Maintenance Service (PMS) provided by its company.

And as Honda continues to improve its vehicles’ fuel economy in different driving condition, the manufacturer is offering the following models for customers to save more:

  • Honda BR-V: 22.58 kilometers/liter
  • Honda City: 25.17 kilometers/liter
  • Honda Brio: 24.39 kilometers/liter

The models underwent fuel economy runs organized by Honda Cars Philippines in partnership with the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP).

Among the parameters were cruising speeds of 60 to 80 kph at 1,500 to 2,000 rpm, aircon setting of 24 degrees, and blower fan speed of 1.

Periodic Maintenance Service

Aside from picking the right vehicle, Honda also recommends two maintenance visits a year at any of their authorized Honda dealers.

This way, cars will stay in shape with a good-tune up, and ensure better performance in the long run that saves owners more money.

Customers may also visit Honda’s Virtual Showroom for a more detailed guide on preventive maintenance, as well as their technologies like Honda SENSING and Honda’s driver assistance and collision avoidance.

Other tips

In addition to making the right choice and maintaining good use of one’s car, Honda suggests these following tips for a more fuel-efficient vehicle:

  • Plan and combine trips: Carpooling and using navigation apps reduces consumption and avoids rush-hour traffic
  • Drive smoothly, not aggressively: Hard breaks, sudden accelerations, and the like increase fuel consumptions and emissions
  • Minimize idling: Fuel is best consumed in motion; staying idle for too long burns fuel without getting anywhere
  • Get rid of all extra weight: The more weight the car needs to pull, the more effort the engine needs which leads to more fuel consumption

Keep tires properly inflated: A study suggested that as low as a 1 percent decrease in pressure can lead to a 0.3 percent reduction in fuel economy, so keep those tires checked

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News

VanMoof reveals next-gen S5 and A5 e-bikes

On sale worldwide for US$ 2,998

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VanMoof next-gen S5, A5

Urban e-bike developer VanMoof has announced its latest generation e-bikes: the VanMoof S5 and VanMoof A5.

Their fully re-engineered features include an ultra-silent powerful motor, long-range battery, powerful boost, and the latest VanMoof anti-theft tech

Both e-bikes come in gray and are on sale worldwide starting from April 5, 2022 for US$ 2,998.

Deliveries will start from July 2022, while a range of accessories will become available in early summer of 2022.

To manage demand and delivery times, riders get access to purchase via waitlist. Sign up to the waitlist at vanmoof.com.

Easy, intuitive use

The VanMoof S5 and A5 have the industry-first Halo Ring Interface which is integrated into the e-bikes’ handlebars and shows speed, battery levels, and connectedness.

The VanMoof anti-theft technology has been improved with a revamped in-wheel kick lock, bigger pin, and new auto retract function.

The bike can secure itself with a tap, and is able to unlock automatically upon the rider’s return.

Both e-bikes also come with a new optional phone mount and USB-C charging port for riders to turn their phones into instant dashboards suitable for navigation or on-the-go charging.

Ultra-smooth riding experience

With a series of improvements and an award-winning design, the S5 and A5 are poised to have elevated stability, usability, and overall riding experience.

The ultra-silent Gen 5 motor, long-range battery, and powerful boost make up the bikes’ connected power system.

This system includes a complex network of intelligent sensors that are engineered to give riders an ultra-smooth riding experience.

Both the S5 and A5 respond to the rider’s pace and movement, thanks to upgraded electronics, rebooted torque sensor, and Gen 5 E-shifter.

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Automotive

Improved electric car Changan Eado EV460 available in PH

An alternative as fuel prices continue to soar

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Eado EV460

With vehicle fuel prices continuing to soar, car buyers might want to consider shifting to a more sustainable electric vehicle (EV).

One premium option is the Eado EV460 car from Chinese automobile manufacturer Changan.

The Eado EV460 was one of five offerings introduced to the Philippine market back in 2020.

The model was hailed as China’s greenest vehicle and Model of the Year at the China Green Car Annual Awards back in 2018.

Thanks to further research and development, the Eado EV460 now has three-in-one electric drive, which allows the more optimal usage of energy for every charge.

The car model takes about eight hours to fully charge, and only 30 minutes for a fast-charge of about 30 to 80 percent on quick charge stations.

Premium features

Eado EV460

Aside from the Eado EV460’s efficient power consumption, it also boasts more features that make the car keep in step with most fuel-powered sedans in the market, including:

  • A Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM), powered by a Ternary (lithium ion) battery that yields a maximum power of 136PS and maximum torque of 245NM
  • Estimated cruising range of 430-550 kilometers at 60 kilometers per hour
  • Sturdy, well-built, simple design; classy interiors with plush leather seats
  • Mono-digital display, 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and 10-inch high-definition touch screen
  • Cruise Control that lets driver lock on to their desired speed
  • Connectivity features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Aside from that, safety wouldn’t be a problem either as the Eado EV460 has smart safety features, including:

  • Six airbags
  • Smart key with illuminated push start/stop button
  • Anti-lock Braking system
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Brake Assist
  • Traction Control System
  • Hill Hold Control
  • Emergency Stop Signal
  • Reverse Camera
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • ISOFIX
  • Child Safety Lock
  • Seatbelt Reminder
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Price and availability

The Eado EV460, now available on order at PhP 1,828,000 at Changan dealerships nationwide.

Interested customers may also take a first-hand glimpse of the Eado EV 460 at the Changan Pavilion at the Manila International Auto Show on April 7 to 10, 2022 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

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