Volvo Cars and Varjo, the maker of high-end augmented reality headsets, have created a world-first mixed reality approach to evaluating prototypes, designs and active safety technologies. The collaboration will be further strengthened by the Volvo Cars Tech Fund's decision to invest in Varjo. With these new augmented reality headsets it will be possible for the first time to drive a real car while wearing a mixed reality headset, 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 and the big claim is that it's better than anything out there in the market currently. With the XR-1 Volvo Cars can radically reduce development timeframes by creating the new ability to evaluate features and designs almost immediately. Volvo Cars designers and engineers will be able 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 as also a refined user experience.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, said, "With this mixed reality approach, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board. 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 identifiying priorities and clearing bottlenecks much earlier in the design and development process."
With the XR-1 Volvo engineers will be able to develop and evaluate active safety solutions much easier. Safety experts are able to drive real cars while wearing the XR-1 headset at Volvo's research facilities in Sweden, testing virtual active safety systems imposed via augmented reality on the real-life environment. Highly accurate eye-tracking technology embedded inside the XR-1 makes it easy to assess how drivers use a new functionality and whether they are distracted in any way. This technology-based approach to measuring distraction levels ensures that Volvo Cars can develop new features without causing additional distraction.