The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Reality in the Automotive Industry
Virtual Reality in automotive is not just a trendy marketing campaign but the symbiosis of cutting-edge technologies. However, even from a marketing standpoint, using VR in the automotive industry is a great way to attract customers’ attention and increase brand visibility. There is hardly a chance that marketing specialists in the industry will want to miss, especially considering the many ways to integrate technology into your business.
Virtual Reality Market in the Automotive Industry
In 2019, Virtual Reality in the automotive industry was valued at $759.3 million, with an expected growth of $14,727.9 million by 2027. From the virtual showrooms to the try-on of driving the new models in Virtual Reality — the brands find different ways to promote their products and make them more attractive to the customers.
VR technology helps in marketing, but it is not limited to advertising and branding. Brands have found a way to use VR for automotive manufacturing and design. For instance, Skoda&Volkswagen group decided to use VR 3D models to create exterior and interior designs of the vehicles.
How VR Changes Car Shopping and Driving Experience
The changes are inevitable among the improvements that Virtual Reality for automotive brings. There are several ways in which VR automotive solutions make using and choosing a car easier.
Virtual Reality Car Showroom
The car salons have the atmosphere that makes you want to buy a car – you can see it shining new and waiting for you, sit in it, and try driving it. However, not all people can make their way to the car showroom whether it is too far from them or can even not exist in their location. The VR car showroom solves this problem by allowing drivers to see the new models of cars from the comfort of their homes.
For instance, KIA launched the VR showroom to showcase the models of new vehicles to their customers.
Virtual Reality Car Showroom of Used Cars
Shopping for cars is exciting and even more exciting when you can learn its history apart from the car’s design and functionality. The online retailer of used cars Vroom makes it possible. The retailer lets customers look through the virtual model of a car, inspect its functionality and even learn about the car’s history.
VR Test Drives
Imagine trying to drive your car’s desired model while sitting at home on your comfy couch. Abarth managed to stop imagining and start doing. The company offered potential buyers to try driving a car without living in a house. The customers received a box of Bose headphones and a Virtual Reality headset that opened them to the world of VR test driving.
VR Tours of Brand Stories
Branding is a powerful part of marketing that influences how customers view the company and its voice. In the automotive industry, brands compete fiercely for potential buyers. After all, every car owner knows about the model of the car they are using. VR opens many branding possibilities, from behind-the-scenes tours to product histories.
The Emotional Impact of VR
Virtual Reality test drives and tours work well for brand recognition because they significantly impact customers’ emotions. When you decide on what car to buy from the comfortable position in your home, you can allow yourself to completely immerse into the experience, helping you make a thoughtful decision.
VR Trainings Change the Customer Service
Virtual Reality provides many employee training opportunities to help professionals better design and engineer cars. It is also constructive in assisting employees in visualizing the virtual selling experience to make their customer service top-notch. BMW includes employee VR training while preparing their specialists to encounter customers.
How VR Changes Automobile Manufacturing
Virtual Reality makes manufacturing cars easier by moving the manual processes into VR and allowing the specialists to see the possible flaws and points of improvement in 3D VR automobiles.
Design, prototyping, and testing with VR
The designers, engineers, and other related specialists might benefit from the broader adoption of VR in the long run. Right now, these experts are making factory prototypes and coming up with all the functionality. For instance, designers can benefit from Virtual Reality technology by creating the most detailed 3D models and seeing the most realistic image of their creations.
Launching a New Car in VR
Right now, launching a car model in VR seems to be the future of the automotive industry, as Meta Technologies specify. With social media creating a new era of event management, the COVID-19 pandemic moved the auto shows completely to the Metaverse. The car manufacturers introduce the VR models of their latest creations to the customer to reach more audiences and meet the external conditions of the world.
Automated Cars Become More Popular
Automated vehicles proved to be the most helpful in making the driving experience safer and more comfortable. As we can see, with Tesla launching self-driving cars and promoting automated driving technology to new levels, that is the future of car manufacturing we can expect. Advanced driver systems are evolving, showing an untapped potential for better adoption among major automotive manufacturers.
In-Car VR User Experience Testing
Automobile user experience testing is a thing now, allowing car manufacturers to prototype the in-car user experiences in addition to the functionality and the design of a model. This functionality is striking for automotive engineers and designers, allowing them to pre-test the in-car experiences before starting the production.
VR Improves Employee Communication
Virtual Reality allows the employees to communicate and work on the same project from every corner of the world without losing the changes in history or the meeting discussion points. It’s possible to host the virtual room and conduct a particular training session in a specific department.
VR Can Show Reconstructed Scenarios
Probably the most significant impact VR makes on the automotive industry is the chance to see and prevent the scenarios of car crashes or possible accidents. Virtual Reality creates the most realistic experiences and probabilities; the manufacturers can change their prototypes.
How VR Impacts Public Awareness In Automotive Industry
The human factor is most often the primary reason for accidents connected to driving. The blame is usually on people. Driving with distracted attention on the road can lead to the most tragic scenarios. Thus, car manufacturing companies took it upon themselves to increase public awareness and safety in the automotive sector, not without the help of VR.
For instance, Toyota created a Virtual Reality experience that shows the dangers of teenage driving. Seeing that teenagers look forward to getting driving licenses and putting away money to buy their dream car, the recognized and respected brand can make them more aware that driving without a license and under the influence is not cool and, most importantly, very dangerous.
Ford took the other critical road safety case – the importance of the collaboration between cyclists and car drivers on the road. Instead of building VR auto vehicles, the company offered the technology that will show the route and frequent driving conditions from the perspective of cyclists and drivers.
VR in Automotive Industry Examples
Dozens of car manufacturers found different ways to apply the technology to their brands. Let’s discover some of the most impressive ones, as follows.
One of the companies that took an exciting turn, thinking that VR could help passengers, is Audi. The company introduced holoride, the VR technology that allows passengers to entertain themselves during long rides. Audi believes every car journey should be enjoyed, thus providing a fun and connected experience.
As the car moves, the VR experience is shaped accordingly, both when getting speed or using brakes. This motion-synced and location-aware VR gaming experience has various themes that can entertain even the pickiest passenger.
Volkswagen partnered with Innoactive and HTC VIVE to create innovative Virtual Reality technologies for logistics and car manufacturing. Giving a focus on employee collaboration, the company designed a Virtual Reality digital room where all employees working on the project can meet and combine their efforts even if they are located in different parts of the world.
BMW has shown that the car manufacturing and gaming industry works well under a single umbrella. The well-recognized automotive company has decided to go far from the traditional vehicle engineering ways and started using gaming principles in car engineering. For that reason, they partnered with Epic Games to assist the car manufacturing process.
According to their press release on the mixed reality system, the BMW iX is the first car that has been developed using Epic’s Unreal Engine during production. In particular, the VR usage was justified by utilizing the journey simulations and re-creating real-life road situations.
The Italian car manufacturing company decided to use VR for advertising purposes. The company created the heart-warming Christmas ad telling how distance can never make a difference between families. The father in the ad is wearing a VR headset and experiencing a virtual test drive while his son is rushing to him in the new Lamborghini.
This famous car company is valued for its safety, user experience, and smart approaches to evaluating car prototypes. Thus, it couldn’t have taken any other concern to solve with Virtual Reality. Volvo introduced the first mixed reality test drive, allowing the driver to sit in the real car wearing a headset that adds the virtual real-like elements on the road.
During the experience, it feels almost like driving a VR vehicle, which is an exciting standalone adventure. More precisely, Volvo has made it possible to drive a car wearing a mixed reality headset and add VR overlay elements on the road.
This manufacturer decided to utilize VR to engineer their new models. The company manufacturers found a way to use technology to make Virtual Reality cars prototypes in every detail. The technology allows them to look at every car part for better development and visualization.
Renault Virtual Studio is the virtual showroom that the company created to allow its customers to see their virtual vehicles from any place in the world just using the browser and Internet connection. Customers can see the 360° view of the car and then create their model by customizing the colors and accessories.
Virtual retail tours are another way of allowing customers to try new car models. Mazda created Virtual Reality tours from five different retail locations. The customers can use the Virtual Reality headset to test drive. As a bonus, VR cars will drive through beautiful mountains or famous fast tracks.
Covid-19 Impact on VR Market in Automotive Industry
There is hardly any industry that went through the Covid-19 pandemic without changes. VR in the automotive industry is no exception. The stress of the pandemic may have caused the disturbances in the first months. For instance, vehicle production in the UK fell by over 38% in March 2019.
The demand for social distancing made the physical showrooms impossible, and changes in working conditions had to be implemented. In May 2019, Jaguar announced that the first Range Rover was created in the conditions of social distancing using the VR employee collaboration technique.
The automotive industry proved its ability to survive under conditions of the pandemic restrictions. Car sales bounced back up when those restrictions were eased in the UK. However, digital and VR stayed for good.
The automotive industry quickly learned that Virtual Reality brings the brand to the future. Car manufacturers started using VR in designing, engineering, and marketing. Even employee training and communication now are highly dependent on Virtual Reality technology. Maybe the traditional car manufacturers wouldn’t have gone to VR so much if not for the COVID that threatened the car production industry. However, we can hardly imagine that the brands will stop there; we just need to wait for what they show us next.
WE/AR Studio aims to help businesses create VR solutions tailored specifically for their industry, product, and budget needs. If you feel like your automotive business is ready for the VR solution, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will connect you with one of our specialists who will help you decide on the right project and explain how it can be done.