by Joe Tracy, Editor of Theme Park Magazine
Imagine going on a road trip with kids and having them exclaim, “best road trip ever!” before even reaching the destination. Imagine driving in peace without hearing “are we there yet?” 8,312 times. That may soon be a reality thanks to holoride which aims to turn “vehicles into moving theme parks.”
What is Holoride?
Holoride is an advanced virtual reality experience known as “extended reality (XR).” It includes elements of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. In this case, a passenger puts on a virtual reality headset which then syncs with the data of the car to allow the passenger to become immersed and “feel” what is happening on screen. As the car moves, the virtual reality content flawlessly adapts and moves with the same motion and speed, creating a new dynamic in experiencing virtual reality.
According to holoride, the technology “has the power to change backseat entertainment forever, opening up a new layer of immersion in games, educational content, and many more use cases.”
The experience isn’t just for kids. It’s for any passenger who has the right virtual reality gear and car. Audi, a minority stakeholder in holoride, is one of several car companies that will have vehicles equipped to send real-time data to holoride to fuel the experience.
In January 2019, Audi released a video, called “holoride – Turning vehicles into moving theme parks,” of what the experience could look like:
How Holoride Works
Holoride uses travel route and time navigation data with vehicle data (including steering, speed, acceleration) that links to a selected virtual world/experience that the passenger selects. The real-time synchronization of the car speed and movements creates a flawless virtual experience that holoride claims can reduce motion sickness in some people.
Here’s a breakdown of the process:
Step 1: The user puts on the VR headset, turns it on, and selects a world or experience.
Step 2: The vehicle sends a constant flow of data to the VR headset via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The data includes how fast the car is going, when the car slows down or speeds up, when the car comes to a stop, and which way the car is moving.
Step 3: The holoride service sends info to the VR headset on the location of the car, where it is going, etc.
Step 4: All the data is synchronized and a real-time experience is created. The experience also calculates where the user is looking.
Step 5: The user can interact with their experience by using a controller to shoot or select objects. Gamemakers are required to limit player movement so that it doesn’t become a distraction to the driver.
VR Headsets for holoride
Holoride has struck a deal with HTC VIVE to use its compact and lightweight immersive glasses device, VIVE Flow, in a mainstream launch of the experience later this year (2022).
With the VIVE Flow “Paired with holoride’s impressive tech, you’ll be able to turn car rides into virtual amusement parks,” claims Shen Ye, HTC VIVE Global Head of Hardware.
VIVE Flow, with the holoride experience, was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress that was held in Spain Feb. 28 – Mar. 3, 2022. VIVE Flow’s VR glasses are reportedly much lighter and compact than VR headsets.
Content will be key to the experience and holoride is encouraging content creators to build new experiences through the July 2021 release of an Elastic SDK (software development kit) for building holoride experiences in the Unity game engine. To assist with the creations, holoride launched a Creator Space that provides documentation, tutorials, and collaboration opportunities.
During testing and demos, content included “Bride of Frankenstein VR” (in partnership with Universal and Ford), and a Marvel Avengers experience (in partnership with Disney and Audi). Holoride is demonstrating its ability to work with different experiences and cars in hope of opening up both markets for the technology.
Holoride is working with several content creation companies including Schell Games. One of the experiences Schell Games is working on for holoride is Cloudbreaker. Players in Cloudbreakers travel to the Cloudscape ruins and battle enemies called “automata.”
Holoride’s RIDE Token
Holoride goes beyond “a cool VR experience” as it has launched its own cryptocurrency, RIDE, on the Maiar Exchange, which runs on the Elrond blockchain. The Maiar Exchange is a decentralized exchange so you don’t need an account, but rather connect directly with an Elrond wallet.
In order to buy RIDE tokens, a person must exchange EGLD currency for RIDE currency on the Maiar Exchange.
RIDE currency can be used by users to purchase in-game items to enhance their holoride experience. This may include upgrading elements of gameplay or personalizing and customizing the experience. Holoride uses RIDE tokens to also provide incentives to developers in the creation of content. Both users and content creators can mint unique NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that can be exchanged for RIDE tokens. RIDE tokens are exchangeable with EGLD and EGLD is exchangeable with other tokens, bringing value to earning and owning RIDE tokens.
So what’s the reason to use one’s own cryptocurrency versus government currency systems that are already in place? Simply put, it provides additional ways for companies like holoride to raise capital for research, development, and new projects.
History of holoride
The concept of using cars and data to create passenger experiences originated within Audi. The concept was spun off, in 2018, into a separate company of which Audi took a minority stake. The founders are Nils Wollny, Marcus Kuehne, Daniel Profendiner and Audi. The three founders all worked for Audi before the concept was spun off into its own company – holoride. The company is based out of Munich, Germany.
The original idea was to create experiences for people riding in autonomous (fully automated self-driving) cars. But with that mass reality still years away, the company instead took aim at the “passenger economy” – everyday passengers in vehicles being driven by another person.
In 2019, holoride demonstrated its technology at CES 2019, and people were blown away. It was proclaimed the “Best of CES” by Engadget, C|NET, Cool Hunting, and Tom’s Guide. Engadget said the experience was “like a Disneyland ride — without the long wait.”
In 2021, holoride raised €10 million (approximately $10.87 million in U.S. Dollars) in funding and has a valuation of €30 million (approximately $32.6 million in U.S. Dollars).
The holoride technology is expected to be widely available beginning later this year (2022). Price and availability will be forthcoming.
Explore More (Videos)
Explore More (Resources)
- Website: holoride Home Page
- Article: Holoride debuts Ride crypto, the currency of its in-car metaverse (TechCrunch)
- Article: Holoride taps Russo Brothers and AR/VR pioneers for strategy board (VentureBeat)