RAC Cars News


Will you use virtual-reality to choose a new car in the future?

By raccars Published

Virtual Reality

Activity at Infiniti suggests that virtual reality will play a big part in buying a new car.

Technological advancements are transforming the experience for new car buyers all the time. And this seems set to continue, with the possibility of viewing a virtual reality version of your new drive just around the corner.

Gone will be the days of using a mixture of personal preference and guesswork to choose the right paint job for your new car. Instead, you will be able to wear virtual goggles and stroll around a real-life-sized model of the vehicle.

This is a way in which a car configurator can be bought to life, making the decisions over the finer details of car buying easier than even before.

A new era for new cars

Today, at Infiniti’s design HQ in London, you can already have access to this ground-breaking technology - if you’re privileged enough to get an invitation, of course.

Designers have been making use of the technology for quite a while, fine-tuning colour schemes to ensure that cars are shown off to their full potential. Now, virtual reality looks set to enter the mainstream where car buyers will be able to see their new car whilst going through different finishes, paint colours and trims.

There is no doubt that some colours work best with particular cars and Infiniti’s design director Matt Weaver explains that manufacturers pick tones to show off a vehicle’s three-dimensional form in the best way possible. He added that it would conflict with design integrity to create a great sculpture only to ruin it with a covering of flat white paint.

Three-dimensional modelling has long-allowed designers to experiment with paint colours, with specialist software also offering the potential to see the effects of different lighting, such as a grey London street or a scorching California highway. This helps to ensure that cars look their best, regardless as to their sale location.

Historically, these three-dimensional models have been viewed on 2d screens but now £800 VR goggles can transform the way in which designers view their creations, allowing them to work around a digital, full-sized model and see details such as how the light reflects off different surfaces.

Enter the VR world

Virtual reality is far from new, but there are vast improvements being made in the underlying technology. This means that designers, and car buyers of the future, can become fully immersed in the details of a new car.

Infiniti designers, for example, claim that they will be holding design reviews which include multiple people in virtual-reality in the same area by the end of this year. They even expect to be ‘meeting’ their creative counterparts in Japan in real time in a type of VR video conference featuring animated avatars.

There is also the potential for designers to be able to sketch new designs in 3D, creating cars from the bottom up, whilst being totally immersed in a VR environment.

Infiniti: the background

Infiniti first started selling vehicles in North America in November 1989. It is Japanese car maker Nissan’s luxury vehicle arm.

Infiniti models include the Q30, Q50 and Q70 and QX30, QX50 and QX70. The premium Q60 sports coupe is also coming soon. The new car has been heralded as competition for German four-seat coupes and has been debuted at the Detroit and Geneva Motor Shows,

A car with the same name left the British market last year but the new model is not a retrospective effort. The Q60 has a more athletic appearance than the Q50 saloon, together with an active aerodynamic grille shutter on the V6 versions and LED headlights.

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