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How Augmented Reality is Paving the Future of the Auto Industry

The global augmented reality market is set to be one of the fastest-growing. According to data, the industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.5% between 2023 and 2026, hitting a value of $88.4 billion.

As more users and businesses embrace AR, the automotive industry is piquing the interest of many analysts who believe AR will be a significant change catalyst in the automotive market.

Augmented reality is expected to pave the future for the auto industry by introducing virtual showrooms, virtual AR-powered heads-up displays, improved in-cabin experiences, and AR car manuals and guides for owners.

Here’s a look into the AR market and what it will change in the automotive industry.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is an interactive experience that uses computer-generated visuals and information to enhance the real world. Also known as AR, augmented reality uses apps, software, and hardware such as AR glasses to overlay digital content onto real-life objects and environments.

The result is an enhanced perceptual experience for the user.

AR can span multiple sensory modalities or stimuli, such as auditory, visual, and haptic. The technology picked up pace in businesses dealing with mobile computing and business applications. However, with the maturity of AR, the technology has made its way into other sectors, such as automotive, featuring as one of the top emerging trends in the industry with AI, big data, and self-driving cars.

Automotive

The Benefits of AR in the Automotive Industry

AR is gaining pace in the automotive sector because of several benefits it gives automotive brands and their customers. Here’re the most significant ones.

Improved Buyer Persona

One of AR’s most significant impacts in the automotive sector is shifting the buyer persona. Traditionally, customers have had to visit physical dealerships to check out or buy cars of their choice. They would often opt for a different car if the dealership doesn’t have a physical vehicle to show the color or model they want.

With AR, customers can skip visiting the dealership physically and virtually check any car model, color, or specification they want by projecting it in their current environment. Using the model of the virtual car, they can be able to make up their mind about what they’ll need from the dealership.

We have worked with Mitsubishi to develop a virtual showroom concept, starting with their electric business to improve sales and customers’ buying experience. Other companies like Volvo and Hyundai also have AR apps allowing buyers to visualize and customize vehicles before choosing what to buy.

Better Customer Education

Vehicle dealership salespersons often struggle with customer education to show buyers that the vehicle they’re looking at has all the features they need. Working with large catalogs hardly adds educational value to the customer’s buying experience.

With AR, vehicle salespersons and dealerships can offer a more comprehensive guide and car tour, enhancing customer education and improving sales. Many companies are shifting towards virtual studios, allowing them to showcase new car features to customers easily.

Therefore, AR makes customer education more practical than 2D diagrams and manuals.

Improved Car Safety

One of the most vital uses of AR in the automotive industry has been improving car safety and security. Car companies are implementing modern car safety systems that use AR, IoT, and other internet-connected devices to handle various safety incidents, such as functional car failures that the driver cannot handle independently.

AR car safety systems are also helping improve driver focus by providing navigation and car status information in easily accessible areas, such as on top of the dashboard, ensuring the driver doesn’t get their eyes off the road.

Data shows that over 9% of new vehicles are ordered with these new advanced AR navigation and safety systems.

XR Virtual Test Drives

The Use Cases of AR in the Automotive Industry

Several new use cases of AR are being explored in the automotive industry. Here’re a few that should pique your interest.

AR Car Manuals and Guides

Modern cars are more complex and often have long, complicated user manuals and guides. AR is transforming the car ownership experience for buyers by allowing companies to have AR car manuals and guides that make it easier to understand and use the modern features of the vehicle.

Hyundai is among the companies pioneering this form of car guides and manuals, launching its AR car manual spin that makes how-to information about their car models accessible through a smartphone AR app. This allows the company to leverage the customer education benefits of AR to make their cars easier to use and understand by customers.

Improved In-Cabin Experiences

AR has enormous potential to transform the in-cabin experience for car owners in the future. Using AR, drivers and passengers can use virtual projected surfaces on the door panels, dashboard, and windows to control more systems in the car and enjoy an immersive travel experience.

These projected surfaces can be used as personalized digital spaces for entertainment, getting information, and having other unique experiences.

Audi is among the pioneers of AR for improved in-cabin experiences, with their Activesphere concept being an excellent example of how AR can be used in car cabins of the future.

Maintenance, Repair, and Simulation Assistance

AR is being used to help technicians and drivers service their vehicles and perform maintenance and repairs. Porsche is among the pioneers of this concept, having introduced an AR app that guides mechanics during vehicle repair, overlaying each step onto the vehicle components.

Porsche takes the use of AR a notch higher, also using it during testing and development to simulate the operation of new vehicles and analyze car behavior, characteristic, and performance. This allows the brand to improve accuracy, efficiency, and vehicle understanding, leading to better products and customer experience.

Virtual Heads-Up Displays (HUDs)

Many companies are releasing new vehicles with advanced heads-up displays. AR takes the HUD experience to a new level, overlaying crucial information for the driver, such as navigation, speed, and traffic alerts, through the windshield or a dedicated display.

AR HUDS are immersive and provide a context-aware driving experience. BMW is among the first auto manufacturers to incorporate AR in its heads-up displays, enabling drivers to see important information on the windshield as they drive.

Bring AR Into Your Automotive Business

Augmented reality is going to be a game changer in the automotive world. Car companies are expected to accelerate their adoption of AR into car safety and entertainment features. Dealerships are also expected to lean more towards offering virtual car buying experiences through virtual showrooms.

Contact a virtual experience expert to learn how to bring AR into your automotive business.