Digital avatars can keep you company while you drive.
Nissan calls it Invisible-to-Visible, or I2V technology, but you can call it creepy.
The company wants to project the “invisible” virtual world onto car windshields and windows. The tech isn’t ready now. Instead, through a VR headset next week at CES in Las Vegas, Nissan will show off its concept to demonstrate what’s possible in future cars, especially self-driving vehicles.
Using information from sensors and cameras inside and outside of the car, paired with data stored in the cloud, the I2V tech shows a "mixed reality" world: some of it is really there but some of it is augmented reality (AR).
Here's a researcher experiencing this "metaverse":
The future looks ... kind of bleak. Family, friends, or other characters can "appear" inside the car as a 3D digital avatar to hang with you on a lonely ride.
Can't stand the dreary weather? The car can make it appear sunny and clear outside. At least it's not as creepy as when China tried to prevent rain at the Olympics.
Other applications help the driver with navigation, parking, and traffic. Projected maps can show where to avoid congested areas or what it'll look like when you arrive. Digital directions projected on the windshield show you where to turn and can find you a parking spot in a garage.
You can even project a finish line to feel like a racer once you make it to your destination. Although, when you speed through that light in the real world, good luck explaining you were simply trying to make it over the finish line that no one else can see.
Another freaky concept? Interior cameras monitoring the real people inside the vehicle. Ideally, it would sense when you need a coffee break or are lost and need directions, but there are definitely privacy issues.
AR on windshields, through dashcams, in vehicles or even motorcycle helmets isn't new — heads-up displays (HUDs) are becoming a common feature, especially to show simple navigation suggestions and current speed in front of drivers' eyes.
Throughout the tech show in Vegas, auto companies and parts suppliers will show off how well mixed reality can work with driving — especially if the car is driving itself.