Volvo, Varjo bring mixed reality to automotive development

June 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Volvo, Varjo bring mixed reality to automotive development
This is not your daddy’s prototyping anymore: In the future, not physical prototypes but mixed reality will play the leading role in the evaluation of new car designs. Towards this end, Volvo along with Finnish manufacturer of augmented reality (AR) headsets have developed an platform to evaluating prototypes, designs and safety technology.

Volvo Cars and Varjo have made it possible to drive a real car while wearing a mixed reality headset, seamlessly adding virtual elements or complete features that seem real to both the driver and the car’s sensors, for development purposes. 

The Varjo XR-1 headset provides photorealistic mixed or virtual reality at a high-definition resolution. As such, the headset can radically reduce development timeframes by creating the new ability to evaluate features and designs almost immediately, Volvo explains.

Compared to its predecessor, the XR-1 adds high-definition cameras to the headset and enables mixed reality. This allows Volvo Cars designers and engineers to ‘drive’ future cars and evaluate all features in a simulation environment many years before they exist, enabling the company to develop the safest cars with the most refined user experience possible.

“With this mixed reality approach, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars. “Instead of the usual static way of evaluating new products and ideas, we can test concepts on the road immediately. This approach offers considerable potential cost savings by identifying priorities and clearing bottlenecks much earlier in the design and development process.”

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