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Audi's backseat VR tech syncs virtual world with vehicle's movement

The company has co-founded a startup, Holoride, that plans to commercialize the technology for use by all automakers.

Audi has revealed its virtual-reality platform today at CES in Las Vegas, showcasing a new entertainment experience for backseat riders.

Using VR glasses in a car isn't exactly revolutionary. Audi plans to distinguish its technology by dynamically synchronizing the virtual experience to the motion of the car, however, causing the virtual world to move in step with turns in the real world.

The company is demonstrating the technology with "Marvel's Avengers: Rocket's Rescue Run," a VR experience that centers around a depiction of outer space. The Audi e-tron functions as the ship manned by the Guardians of the Galaxy.

"Every movement of the car is reflected in the experience in real time," the automaker explains. "If the car turns a tight corner, the player curves around an opposing spaceship in virtual reality. If the Audi e-tron accelerates, the ship in the experience does the same."

Audi apparently believes the technology holds more promise than a mere CES demo gimmick. The company has co-founded a startup, Holoride, that plans to commercialize the technology as an open platform that can be used by many content owners and rival automakers.

"We can only develop this new entertainment segment by adopting a cooperative, open approach for vehicle, device and content producers," says Nils Wollny, Audi's head of digital business and the future CEO of Holoride.

The startup plans to launch the new backseat entertainment platform in just three years, using standard VR glasses for backseat passengers. The company says V2I tech could eventually integrate traffic events into the virtual experience.

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