Users will get behind the wheel of an actual M2 while virtual goggles simulate a thrilling course.
BMW is stepping into the world of virtual racing, but with a unique twist of some real-life driving experiences. This mixed-reality setup intends to take the best of both worlds to create a thrilling and challenging event behind the wheel of a BMW M2 and has been designed by BMW M in conjunction with Epic Games.
The project, fittingly named ///M Mixed Reality, was unveiled at this year's Web Summit held in Lisbon and is unlike any venture the brand has undertaken yet. It involves M Performance enthusiasts taking a seat in their beloved car and traveling to an immersive digital world via a set of virtual reality goggles.
During this, they will be required to prove their worth and test their skills as they confront high-speed challenges. The racing game factor is provided by virtual obstacles that need to be dodged and in-game currency that can be earned via collecting coins scattered on the track. While the goggles act as the display unit, the BMW M2 will be used to control all functions. Making things even more intense is the fact that the car will be driven at true speed. This is bound to create some strange sensations.
BMW M CEO Frank van Meel states that this bold venture is an important step for the brand. He says, "Anyone who asks what virtual experiences in the automotive sector might look like in future: That is the answer. People must be able to experience this new feeling - and with ///M Mixed Reality, we offer them a suitable solution for this."
"At BMW M, we have always been testing the limits of what is technically feasible and thus, among other things, laying the foundation for new immersive experiences," van Meel adds.
Although this is BMW's first venture into virtual reality behind the wheel, it is not the first instance of a manufacturer experimenting with this virtual and augmented reality. Audi has been investing in this technology as well so that consumers can enjoy its products in a new light.
Porsche also adopted this Holoride technology, however, it was only available to experience as a passenger as part of an elaborate dealership experience while seated in the rear row of a Porsche Cayenne.
BMW adds that mixed reality technology has become the norm in its product development process. Included in this is the use of augmented reality to boost the development of vehicles across different teams and applying virtual reality to support product planning as well as the construction of its iFactory Lydia in Shenyang, China, making it the brand's first production facility to be planned and simulated exclusively via virtual tools.
All of these projects are based on Epic Games' Unreal Engine software, together with Nvidia's Omniverse, which will also be used to develop 3D laser scans. This technology is being planned so that the brand can fully digitize all of its production facilities. This is somewhat similar to the Unity Engine Mercedes-Benz has opted to use for its future technologies.