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Premium Automakers Will Implement VR in Vehicles First; Operational, Functional, and Safety Related Constraints Will Challenge Adoption in the Future
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Virtual Reality (VR) is an advanced immersive technology used in industries, such as healthcare, gaming, smartphone, and manufacturing, for a wide range of use cases to enhance user productivity and to provide high-definition entertainment services. The automotive industry has been experimenting with VR in manufacturing facilities and dealer showrooms. The urgency to digitize retail practices has taken priority like never before. VR offers virtual showroom tours, test drives, and 360° views of vehicle interiors for an immersive customer experience. In OEM manufacturing facilities, prototype designing is simplified using VR simulation and helps in making changes seamlessly. Virtual employee training programs, self-driving vehicle simulation testing, and collaborative design reviews are some use cases that can be implemented through VR. However, VR inside cars are very niche today. Gaming-capable processors are prerequisites to implementing VR in cars and, hence, VR-based entertainment services will be piloted in premium brands (such as Tesla, Audi) between 2023 and 2025. This study will analyze the different VR applications in the automotive industry and the potential growth opportunities and challenges of implementing VR in connected vehicles. VR is used majorly in automotive digital showrooms and vehicle production environments for an interactive user experience and improved employee productivity. However, VR in cars is still a niche use case, and is expected to be implemented beyond 2023. VR will be used for entertainment purposes, such as movie streaming, media playback, gaming consoles, virtual tours, and online concerts by passengers in future ownership and usership vehicles. On-demand digital cockpits will redefine the in-car experience for consumers, with focus on comfort and convenience. Future connected vehicles are expected to have individual sound bubbles and dedicated infotainment screens for each passenger. VR will play a critical role to support virtual entertainment options and provide personalized experiences for passengers. Growth Opportunities:5G is expected to slowly eliminate the bottleneck of computing power, latency rates, and high-speed network connectivity needed for real-time VR services in the automotive industry. VR will enable automakers to fast-track the self-driving vehicle testing process through multiple virtual simulations. VR simulations will ensure AV safety testing to be done at minimal costs virtually instead of complex road trial programs. Frost & Sullivan expects that premium vehicles and luxury brands with advanced processors and GPU compute capabilities will be the first ones to launch in-vehicle VR applications. Tesla announced a new gaming computer in Model S and X vehicles to support gaming and entertainment services. Audi, along with Holoride and Disney, demonstrated an in-car VR experience while the vehicle was in motion. Such developments indicate the inclination of premium brands such as Tesla and Audi to implement VR in vehicles. OEMs such as VW and BMW are expected to follow suit. Challenges: The overall cost of a VR setup is expensive and can be integrated with only high-performance computing devices to see the best results, thereby, increasing the overall service subscription costs for passengers. For a fully immersive experience, a 360-degree view is critical in VR. This requires robust Internet connectivity throughout the vehicle journey with low latency rates and higher speeds. Else, the VR experience will be poor with less real-time response and a disorientating experience that can lead to motion sickness for users. Lack of regulations to monitor automotive VR deployments, safety protocols, and best practices when viewing VR content will challenge VR implementation in vehicles.Author: Dorothy Amy
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