Hackathon and Porsche’s dive into Virtual and Augmented Reality

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February 25, 2019

AR, VR and XR have become common place in many important industries. It is currently being used in the entertainment industry and is starting to be used in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, military and communications industries, to name a few.

An example of this, is elevator service technicians, who are able to see technical information while analysing and repairing machines on site. Some large retail chains have virtual fitting rooms and smart mirrors that interact with the customer, enhancing their experience. In the field of medicine, there are scanners that project a map of the internal circulatory systems on the patient’s body.

There are plenty of great use cases of virtual, augmented and cross reality, which have the potential for gaining traction in future technologies in other industries.

Porsche is currently working with these new technologies in the areas of training and service, as well as customer experience, and are endeavouring to improve and develop in these areas. Virtual reality and the drone 'Alice' is helping Porsche's after-sales employees worldwide understand complex technical concepts. Alice's job is to guide the mechanics through a series of repair steps on the high-voltage battery found in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. While under the supervision of Alice, each step is executed in a safe manner, as it takes place in virtual reality. This is a huge advantage, as the most complex training can be done safely and more efficiently.

Virtual reality is also the ideal technology for the car enthusiast, providing a unique and exciting virtual experience. The launching of the new Porsche 911 Carrera S at LA Auto show last year, saw Porsche join forces with Slightly Mad Studios, to give an introduction to a new realistic VR experience, where visitors could test drive their latest model.

Google and Porsche have been working together and have developed the “Mission E Augmented Reality” app. Potential customers can position the "Mission E" at home in the living room or in their driveway. It includes different view modes to allow them to digitally explore Porsche's first totally electric sports car, the Taycan. Customers can even take an augmented reality test drive using the app on their smartphone for a more complete virtual experience.

Porsche have partnered with other companies to bring the very latest in ground-breaking technology. For example, in their partnership with WayRay, Porsche are bringing a holographic augmented head up display into their cars. WayRay produces augmented holographic images that are used as navigation systems. One of these navigation systems is Navion, which projects digital data onto the cars windshield, using a process called SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping). SLAM maps the environment constantly as you drive, while simultaneously keeping track of the car's location.

The Virtual Reality Hackathon took place earlier in the year, looking at the latest in VR, XR and AR technologies. It is the world's largest Hackathon, involving the examination of different technologies and how these can be used in generating new experiences. It involves interdisciplinary teams from a diverse range of disciplines, such as designers, engineers, artists, coders, sound designers, students, storytellers and imaginative AR/VR enthusiasts from all over the world, with each participant promoting their ideas to form teams. Around a quarter, that is 400 of the 1600 or so participants with the best ideas are selected to create original cross reality experiences and applications.

In the category "Best use of True AR SDK", the WayRay team won for its software development kit, which involves the projecting of augmented reality onto a cars windshield. The team created the Accudrive app to help people drive more accurately and safely by integrating AR and 'gamifying' the driving experience. This led to a more interesting and fun driving experience as well as increasing road knowledge and safety.

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