Munich-based mixed reality (XR) in-car entertainment company, Holoride, has just secured an additional $12 million (€10 million) in a Series A investment round. The company was co-founded by luxury car company, Audi.
The Series A round was driven by the Swedish ADAS software development company, Terranet, who led the round with a $3.9 million (€3.2 million) investment. This was backed up by a group of individual Chinese financial and automotive technology investors, organized by investment professional Jingjing Xu.
Educational and entertainment games development company, Schell Games, has also invested, they have partnered with Holoride previously to create content. They are the same studio behind one of the most popular VR games to date, I Expect You To Die.
Holoride will use some of its latest funds to search for new developers and discover other talent as it looks to expand its reach into global markets such as the United States, Europe and Asia. It plans to launch its product for private passenger cars by summer 2022.
The key to Holorides’ success is that they have figured out how to overcome motion sickness that can be caused either by being a passenger in a vehicle, or by using a VR headset. They do this by matching the experience users have on-screen, within the headset, and match it to the movement of the vehicle.
Using localization, or positioning software, they can take data points from the car and use it to perform real-time synchronization. They can then build ‘elastic’ content, which adapts to individual travel time and routes. They use a combination of sensors, cameras and laser scanners, which are integrated into the car’s windshield and headlamps, in order to calculate the distance, direction and speed of an object. They can then sync XR with real-time motion data.
This means that it syncs the entertainment application to the movement of the car that the passenger is in. So when the car moves in real-life, so does the scenery in the game, or the environment that the user is seeing in the virtual reality headset.
The company had been quiet on social media in the last year, with progress stalling partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have been around for a while now though, despite never actually getting their first product to market yet. They teased a video back in October 2019, when they teamed up with Ford and Universal Pictures, to show part of their vision for VR in-car entertainment.
The focus on in-car VR comes from the fact that car manufacturers always focus on who is buying the car, or the driver, but not so much on the passengers. The passenger is who Holoride really focuses on, and they want to turn every vehicle into a moving theme park.