Daimler Unveils Electric, Autonomous, Virtual Reality…What?!?!
You can already take control of an autonomous vehicle and see the feed from its sensors in VR.
Daimler’s Moovel development lab specializes in finding ways to simplify urban mobility. It’s latest project can turn person into an autonomous vehicle as part of its “Who Wants to Be a Self-Driving Car” project. The concept turns the human controller into an integrated part on the vehicle’s sensor array.
Moovel’s experimental vehicle is a little motorized cart with a wide variety of sensors, including a 3D depth camera and lidar. A person lies on top and puts on VR goggles. A controller lets the driver steer, accelerate, and brake.
Through the VR goggles, the rider sees the world through the vehicle’s 3D depth camera. In addition, other sensors’ detect surrounding objects and highlight them on the display. The lidar also shows the distance away from obstacles. By combining all of these elements, a person should have everything necessary to safely control the cart.
“The project is aimed at being a platform for all those who want to experience and share their impressions, feelings and thoughts on the future subject of autonomous driving,” Joey Lee, a member of the project team, said in Moovel’s announcement of it. “By allowing people to experience it for themselves, we want to make the topic less complex, create empathy for the technology and trigger a discussion about the future of mobility.”
Driving this weird machine sounds a lot like the experience of playing a video game because of the VR goggles, but at the same time, you’re actually moving. It could be a recipe for an extreme case of motion sickness.
If you happen to visit the Push UX Conference in Munich, Germany, in late October or the Kikk Festival in Namur, Belgium, in early November there’s an opportunity to actually try out this tech.