DAVID LINKLATER/SUPPLIED IMAGES
The Golf GTI Aurora concept has floating audio controls.
Small car meets Star Wars? A Volkswagen Golf GTI concept car called Aurora features working hologram controls for its audio system.
The holographic module, by VW Group Components, has been shown for the first time at the annual GTI Meeting at Lake Worth in Germany.
VW claims the technology is a world first.
"With this hologram technology, we have succeeded in unifying the real and virtual worlds," says Thomas Schmall, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components.
"Almost everyone is familiar with holograms from Hollywood films such as Star Trek and Star Wars -- and we are very close to replicating this cinematic reality."
Three-dimensional effect does not require special glasses or other aids.
Unlike three-dimensional experiences in the cinema, you do not need 3D glasses or any special equipment.
"It is like a mirage that you can clearly see and which we use to deliver a whole new user experience," says Schmall.
"The hologram floats freely in the air, above the hardware that is integrated into a compact module in the luggage compartment."
System recognises users intentions with floating images and implements them.
Mark Möller, head of development at VW Group Components, provides a technical insight: "We create a floating image using software algorithms and visual technology components.
"The system automatically recognises the user's operating requirements and implements them - making it intuitive and logical to operate."
Möller says that the details of the technology are a trade secret based on a proprietary, patented technology.
System uses proprietary technology - but components are already available, says VW.
"[But] the holographic system can be realised using technology modules that are already available today; it is no longer just in the realm of science fiction."
That's the good news. The bad news is that Moller says it will still be "some time" before the technology can be used in a production car.
The hologram audio system is the star attraction of the Aurora show car, which was unveiled at the GTI Meeting alongside another concept called Estate FighterR.
Other aspects of the GTI Aurora were created by by an apprentice team at VW's head office in Wolfsburg.
Additional displays in the centre console show the driver engine and vehicle data, which is particularly useful on racetracks.
The front passenger can follow everything at the same time on a tablet device, which they can also use to control the 3500-watt sound system (the hologram controls are in the boot).
The apprentices first created the exterior and interior designs on the computer, with the details of the two-seater's sound and multimedia tailgate package posing particular challenges.
The apprentices therefore initially designed the rear side cladding and the mounts for the speakers and subwoofer on CAD computers.
The GTI Aurora is powered by a 2.0-litre engine with an output of 279kW and a seven-speed direct shift gearbox.
The concept is painted in Nardo Gray and Deep Black Pearl Effect, as well as a one-off accent colour called Mint Green.
The bodykit with rear diffuser and all the decorative elements were painted by hand.