Vehicle concepts have flirted with augmented reality from windshield displays all the way to Panasonic’s recent concept for a completely decked out cockpit. Acura has decided to couple AR and their cars in a completely different way by having celebrities race real cars around a large empty parking lot while viewing AR tracks that can be manipulated by viewers of the live stream.
For Acura’s intriguing event, a few augmented reality tracks were created using satellite data to bring it to real world scale. The tracks have different themes to them like a lush jungle or frozen tundra and the drivers had to navigate a real car while only being to see the track through their headset. Viewers of the live stream were able to see clips of the track that the driver saw, which was fairly rough and jumpy, as well as footage of the real car making its way around the empty lot. While the view we had of the AR track was pretty jumpy, it’s not clear if the driver’s headset had as much lag.
An added layer to the viewer experience is that use of the various emojis during the individual races would clear obstacles like foliage for the drivers and make things easier for them. It was mentioned during one particular race that a driver must have a large fanbase because they were clearing her track pretty quickly.
The entire ordeal was an intriguing experiment that showed off how augmented reality could be utilized in an exciting environment with spectators and also how live broadcasts can further get audiences involved in what they’re watching. You can watch full, hour-plus stream on the official Acura Facebook account.