Automotive

Audi’s Holoride is a VR experience like no other

Back seat car rides will never be the same again

Published

on

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

Honda Civic Type R debuts in the Philippines: Price, availability

Most powerful model yet

Published

on

Honda Civic Type R

Honda is starting 2023 with a bang, introducing the 6th generation Civic Type R to the Philippine market.

The most powerful yet from the line, the all-new sports car-looking Civic Type R will feature a handful of improvements from its exterior design all the way to a more ergonomic and immersive cabin inside.

Some changes include a wider and lower overall build, wider rear doors, a reshaped rear bumper, an elongated hood, and an aggressive front bumper design featuring a honeycomb grille mesh.

The LED headlamps and taillamps have also been redesigned, complementing the matte black finish on the 19-inch alloy wheels.

Of course, the Civic Type R isn’t just all about appearance; underneath the hood is a powerful 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC VTEC, turbo-charged in-line 4-cylinder engine for up to 420 Nm of torque.

The car features a 6-speed manual transmission with a Rev Match Control system for more precise and smoother shifting.

Immersive, comfortable interior

Inside the all-new Civic Type R is an immersive cabin with distinct features only available on the specific model.

There is an aluminum shift knob for added sportiness and a serialized Type R plate on the dashboard. The car has racing-inspired Alcantara seats, while a black and red motif stands out in interior finishes.

Behind the steering wheel is a 10.2-inch fully-digital instrument cluster. For its infotainment setup, the Type R features a 9-inch touchscreen with support for various connectivity and multimedia functions, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 12-speaker Bose system.

Another exclusive offering for the Type R is the Honda LogR Performance Datalogger that monitors driving activity using both the car’s sensors and a built-in vehicle app.

Other comfort features include automatic air-conditioning, smart key card entry, one push start system, wireless charging, and more.

Advanced safety features

The 2023 Civic Type R comes with the full suite of Honda SENSING features, such as:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Auto-High Beam

Aside from these, the car also has a camera mounted behind the windshield which has an improved field of view (100 degrees from 50 degrees) while at the back is a multi-view rear camera.

Other safety offerings include:

  • Anti-lock Brake System
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution
  • Vehicle Stability Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Electric Parking Brake
  • Auto Brake Hold
  • ISOFIX child seat anchor

Price, availability

The all-new Honda Civic Type R retails for PhP 3,880,000 for the 2.0 VTEC Turbo Honda SENSING MT variant.

Visit any of Honda’s 37 car dealerships nationwide for the virtual showroom here for more details.

Continue Reading

Automotive

Xiaomi EV spotted in China

Named Modena

Published

on

Image source: CarNewsChina

How do new cars get their first test runs on real roads? Common in the automotive space, prerelease vehicles often go on extensive tests on actual roads while disguised with non-revealing designs. As vehicles, electric vehicles are no different. A year ahead of their projected release date, Xiaomi and its first electric car have made surprise appearances in Chinese roads for test drives.

Reported by CarNewsChina (via ArenaEV), Xiaomi has reportedly unleased its unreleased electric vehicle in China. The timing of the tests foretell important tests for winter conditions, an important metric for vehicles in a country that gets its fair share of icy weather. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun reportedly participated in the tests himself.

All of the test vehicles were clothed in black fabric to obscure the final design. Spotters won’t be able to deduce much except from the outline. Speculations are already out and about, though.

The vehicle, codenamed Modena, will come with a variety of battery options including one from Chinese EV mainstay BYD. The battery will supposedly charge from empty to around 80 percent in just 15 minutes. It will also reportedly come with an unreleased automotive chipset from Qualcomm. It might ship with a price tag hovering between RMB 260,000 to RMB 350,000.

As with their first announcement back in 2021, Xiaomi is expected to launch the Modena sometime in 2024. Besides the first vehicle, the company is also working on another vehicle codenamed Lemans.

SEE ALSO: First Xiaomi car set for a 2024 launch

Continue Reading

Accessories

Best of CES 2023

Next-Gen Foldables, Record-Breaking Electric Car, and a 3D Laptop without 3D Glasses

Published

on

There were a lot announced during CES 2023 — and by that we mean A LOT.

But some of our favorites include a portable solar-powered fridge with a built-in ice maker, a record-breaking electric vehicle that can go farther than any before, a laptop with a 3D display, heck even the future of foldable smartphones was unveiled!

Featuring the ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED, Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX, the next-gen foldables care of Samsung Display, and many more!

Know more of them by watching our Best of CES 2023 round-up!

Continue Reading

Trending