© Volvo Cars Electronics Production | May 30, 2019
Volvo invests in Finnish VR/XR company
Together with Varjo, a technology start-up from Finland that specialises in high-end virtual reality and mixed reality headsets, Volvo is now using virtual and augmented reality technology in its development work.
The carmaker is using Varjo’s headset to test-drive virtual car designs on the road. The Finnish company says that Volvo Cars have used XR-1 prototypes for this new workflow since the summer of 2018. It headset shows a photorealistic Volvo interior, but one that is slightly different from current cars; it more of a preview of a future Volvo. The benefits of such technology are obvious: “our design colleagues no longer have to wait for feedback on their ideas until an actual concept interior has been mocked up. Instead, they can get input at a much earlier stage and make any adjustments quickly, and see how a new design looks in different environments,” the company writes in a press release explaining the usaged. The automotive company is also looking for ways to use the mixed or augmented reality (AR) capabilities of the XR-1. For example, an engineer could rive a real car while wearing a mixed reality headset, and add virtual elements or features that seem real to both the driver and the car’s sensors. They can drive a real car at the company’s test track in Sweden while wearing the XR-1 headset and try out virtual active safety systems and scenarios that are imposed via augmented reality on the real-life environment. “With this mixed reality approach, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board,” says our chief technology officer Henrik Green. “Instead of the usual static way of evaluating new products and ideas, we can test concepts on the road immediately, as well as identifying priorities and clearing bottlenecks much earlier in the design and development process.” The carmaker also says that it will make in investment in the Finnish company via its Volvo Cars Tech Fund; however, the scope of the investment remains unclear.