Your Future Road Trips Could Be in the Metaverse Thanks to VR

Real driving with simulated graphics

  • The company, holoride, is launching a VR experience you can use while riding in a car.
  • Passengers could use VR to play games or eventually get work done. 
  • Experts say that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to drive a car using VR anytime soon.
Two people inside a vehicle wearing VR glasses.


Virtual reality (VR) may be heading to a car near, and it could be a step toward a future where automobiles become part of the metaverse. 

The company, holoride, has launched its VR gaming and entertainment platform in Germany, with an in-vehicle immersive experience for some Audi vehicles. Passengers can use games and apps that synchronize with live ride information. And VR in your car could be a productivity boost, some experts say. 

"Riding in a car seems like a great place to get things done, but it's full of distractions and constraints," Danny Parks, the vice president of technology for Trigger XR, a company that creates VR and augmented reality experiences, told Lifewire in an email interview. "VR in cars has the potential to transform that experience by replacing the car interior with a fully immersive experience. There's a really great fit between the average commute and the average duration of a VR session."

VR in a Car

Holoride dubs its car VR experience the 'Motorverse,' which it defines as a place where riders can use interactive and passive content that reacts to both them and the car's motion. Enthusiasts often describe the metaverse as a version of the Internet which is an immersive virtual world. 

"Despite amazing advances in automotive technology over the last few decades, passenger experience and in-car entertainment has remained largely the same," Nils Wollny, the CEO of holoride, said in the news release. "With the introduction of holoride, we are not only elevating that stale experience; we are redefining how you spend your time on the go. I couldn't be more excited for riders to finally enjoy the thrills of the Motorverse for themselves."

We may see a theater-like experience where the windows and windshield dim and an immersive, 2-hour movie gets shown to the passengers.

At launch, holoride users can play Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven. In the game, players guide Dev, his scavenger robot Skyjack, and I.O.N.E. through the hostile skies of Stratus, gathering scrap and blasting AI sentries as they simultaneously travel to their real-world destination.

The company claims that in addition to games, holoride can also create a more comfortable user experience. Instances of motion sickness are "substantially reduced thanks to the technology's use of steering, braking, and acceleration data to match what riders see in the headset with what they feel outside the Motorverse, and with almost no latency."

Real Motion, Virtual Reality

Gaming isn't the only VR option for the car industry. Automaker Nissan is reportedly giving buyers of their Ariya model free VR headsets to see their upcoming vehicle.

There have been delivery delays for the Ariya, so Nissan has said it will send those who reserved the car a free Meta Quest 2 VR headset. The Quest has a virtual vehicle rendering, so customers can see and interact with it. 

Auto industry consultant Iliya Rybchin told Lifewire via email that while holoride requires passengers to put on VR headsets, "it's a baby step to a much more immersive VR experience." He suggested that, eventually, car windows might be used as VR displays. 

"When consumers and government regulators become comfortable with fully autonomous cars—we may see a theater-like experience where the windows and windshield dim and an immersive, 2-hour movie gets shown to the passengers," he added.

There may also be contextual infotainment in our future for drivers, Rybchin said, since cars (and the 5G phones in our pockets) will know a lot about our driving patterns and intent.

"Rather than selecting content from the vehicle's display, your vehicle will become much better at recommending content based on your destination or goals in the same way Netflix or YouTube recommend content based on your preferences," he added. 

However much VR tech evolves, Parks predicted that using goggles to steer your vehicle is unlikely to become a reality anytime soon. 

"While one might imagine a world where a VR driving experience helps highlight potential dangers or hazards, the use case for entertainment (i.e., distraction) is too tempting to ignore," he added. "Driving a car while wearing a VR headset is unlikely to move through the necessary regulatory hurdles even if it did sound like a good idea."

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