After days of demonstrations and announcements and miles of walking, I am confident I can declare Holoride what is best at this year's CES. The designation "The best thing at CES 2019" is my badging. This is not an official award from a governing body. It's just me saying that Holoride is the best thing I've seen at the show.
I guess this year's CES is going well. The main theme is the connection of services around the smart home. There is a wide range of devices that support Amazon, Google, and Apple services. CES 2019 was also marked by the launch of new silicon chipsets and stand-alone platforms. But what impresses me the most is Holoride, a start-up of Audi who wants to put VR in the car to entertain and reduce motion sickness.
Iron Man needs help, Rocket told me. And like that, I found myself in a space battle against the wicked Thanos. There was an oculus on my head and my body was diving and diving, shooting through the space as I waved my hand, thundering the enemy. It was straight out of Disney World (partly because Disney helped with the content). I was waiting to be in Las Vegas, at the back of an Audi SUV reaching a speed of 90 mph on a track.
After two laps, I am well shot . I did not feel sick at all even though I am the kind of person who can not watch his phone in the car.
Matching the content of virtual reality to the movements of the vehicle is the key to the Holoride experience. In short, when the car moves, the content moves in the same way. This reduces motion sickness and, according to my demo, I can confirm that it works at least on me.
This technology was developed by a small company recently created by Audi to put the VR in place of each car. The founders are working on the technology behind the embedded VR system for several years. The automaker holds a minority stake through its subsidiary Audi Electronics Venture, which has contributed to the development of the technology. Audi will license this technology to Holoride and the start-up will use an open platform to allow all automakers as well as content developers to create the reality formats they want.
I have lived countless virtual reality experiences and this was one of the best demos I have ever had. The case of use is also convincing. Not only does it provide entertainment, but it also solves motion sickness. It's easy to imagine this in an ad-supported format on the back of an Uber or on a long distance bus. It could work in planes too. This could improve long car trips with children.
The Holoride is a long shot and there are innumerable questions about content, consumer awareness and compatibility. To succeed, society must create a complete ecosystem of developers, automakers and consumers. Building incredible experiences is one thing; sell incredible experiences is even more difficult.