Microsoft is working with Volkswagen on new use cases for augmented reality technology in mobility scenarios. The car manufacturer has been experimenting with using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 in moving vehicles, and it has helped the Redmond giant create a new “moving platform” mode for the headset.
“The new “moving platform” mode for HoloLens 2 overcomes a major limitation of mixed reality headsets and creates potential for the technology to be used in new ways — training drivers to handle challenging road conditions, for example, or creating new user experiences for autonomous vehicles. And while mobility is Volkswagen’s focus, the capability could in future be shared across other industries,” Microsoft explained today.
Volkswagen has been interested in augmented reality for many years, having previously launched a research project using self-piloted vehicles and augmented reality to teach driving on a racing circuit. However, the carmaker was initially unable to make Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset work in a moving vehicle as the devices’ sensors lost tracking and holograms were disappearing. Microsoft’s HoloLens team eventually developed an algorithm to allow HoloLens to continue tracking in a moving platform, and following months of testing the new moving platform feature was born.
“We connected a positioning system that tracks the location of the vehicle. This way we were able to also place 3D elements such as information on point of interests outside of the car. This opens up completely new possibilities to not only display holograms within the driver’s forward-facing field of view, but also wherever the user wearing the glasses is looking,” says Michael Wittkämper, augmented reality expert at Volkswagen.
This new moving platform mode for HoloLens 2 is already garnering interest from maritime companies. It’s supported for use on large ships, but Microsoft is already working on other use cases in trains, cars, elevators, and other moving environments.