Lexus uses VR technology to provide an on-the-spot test-drive experience
The advancements in technology over the past two decades have been astronomical; consistently finding ways to improve ease of access, information, lifestyles and entertainment. While the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) was all about the cars, some of the world’s latest entertainment technology helped play a role in enhancing the experience — at least when it came to Lexus.
While each manufacturer and brand offered contests and ways for an opportunity to test drive one of their vehicles, Lexus found a way to allow you to make that test drive on the spot. The company employed the use of one of the leading technologies in virtual reality gaming and movies to provide a surreal, test-drive experience.
Developed by Oculus VR, the Rift system is a next-generation technology which ‘uses state of the art displays and optics designed specifically for VR (Virtual Reality).’* It’s produced with a high refresh rate and low-persistence display, so that images and graphics move smoothly around you. Combined with the device’s optics system, it has the ability to create an immersive and wide field of view.
Utilizing Oculus VR’s Development Kit 2 Rift system, Lexus created their own VR testing system — the Lexus RC F Rift. The simulator allows drivers to test out the RC F on a track where they can see just how powerful the vehicle is, without having to physically go to a track.
The test-drive system that was developed creates as immersive of a VR experience as possible. At the 2016 CIAS, four ‘drivers’ were able to strap in at a time, and not only see what the vehicle was capable of, but try to win the highest speed against both their heat and all other drivers for the duration of the show.
Built using the car’s actual steering system, headphones and an Oculus headset, it helps to create a full simulation of what it would be like to actually drive the RC F.
Much like many video games which allow you to drive, the steering is far more sensitive than real life, and due to not having a shifter, it takes a bit of an adjustment to figure out how to use the tabs on the steering wheel to reverse and move forward again.
Unlike a video game, the VR technology is completely immersive. You can look to your left, your right, and even behind you, and rather than seeing black or empty-ness, you can see the stadium stands, side of the race-tracks, out your window, and the passenger seat.
One of the downsides to this however, is that due to the fact you cannot see your own hands or body, it can create issues if you suffer from any form of motion sickness or disorientation. However, once you get a handle on how the vehicle moves, it can be fun, and gives a nice simulation of what it would be like to drive a Lexus. And since you don’t need a driver’s license — or to be of legal age — to utilize the Rift, it added just one more family-oriented activity to the 2016 Canadian International AutoShow, and made the Lexus booth appealing to all-ages.
Written by Tabitha Wells