The Italian Job 2.0: VR in the automotive industry

The Italian Job 2.0: VR in the automotive industry

As far as classic action movies go, you can’t get much more high-octane than a high-speed Mini tearing through the streets of Venice. But what if we could recreate that hair-raising rush in real-life, without any of the risks?

Virtual reality not only immerses the viewer in the action but offers a one-off experience which transcends the real world and pulls you into another. One where you can put your pedal to the virtual metal in your very own Italian heist. When it comes to the future of the automotive industry, virtual reality could be the final, important piece of the puzzle.

The Real Italian Job

Thanks to new-fangled tech taking moving image to the 2.0, instead of just watching your favourite cars speeding through city streets, you can become part of a new experience, jump in your VR car, where you’re quite literally the driver.

Take Mini’s dark and daring film ‘Backwater’, for example. Following a day in the life of an undercover agent, Mini offered viewers the chance to live out an Italian Job-style heist in 360, all through the nifty Google Cardboard headset. Forget test driving the latest model around your local roundabouts, why not floor it down virtual marinas?

Living the Dynamo Dream

In a slightly more abstract way to showcase a new car in VR, Fiat also tapped into the power of experience with the launch of their Fiat 500 X. Instead of simply filming the interior of their new car and releasing a traditional experience-led ad, they crafted a virtual, dream-like environment viewers could navigate and blurred the lines between automotive and entertainment.

Cityscapes rise up from the CGI ground as you power down neon, Blade Runner roads – all whilst famous magician Dynamo flicks playing cards at your windscreen. But all magic aside, what’s most impressive is the level of detail that can be achieved in VR. The dashboard on the car is photo-real, the seats rendered to look exactly as they would in real-life – in a glowing, 3D world. Why not test drive a car on the ceiling?

The Future Is Now

Finally, what’s important to remember when it comes to the automotive industry is that the best way to sell an experience is to actually experience it. We’ve seen how VR can offer the audience a hair-raising ride but as a medium, VR is the perfect platform for showcasing new cars without the need for a showroom.

Jaguar’s reveal in November 2016 of their futuristic I-PACE, all-electric, crossover is a perfect example of how VR could change the future of the automotive industry. Instead of having to trek to a showroom, potential buyers could simply pick up an HTC Vive headset, plug in and explore the interior of the car. Not only that, but they could drive it through remarkably scenic landscapes both in and out of this world without ever having to pick up a passport.

With tech advancing so fast, the industry has the whole virtual world at its feet. Imagine a future where physical dealerships no longer exist. You could simply pick up your headset and scroll through a whole host of global showrooms to find the perfect car and examine it both inside and out from your own living room. Or test drive the latest luxury sports car on Route 66 at full throttle, with no one else on the road. It’s no longer just about the car anymore, it’s about the personal, virtual experience that comes with your dream car – that’s what really sells it.

Forget flying cars, the future is here and the future is now – just find your nearest VR dealership to test drive the car of your dreams.

Pebble Studios
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