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Mini Looking To Add Mixed Reality Into The Driving Experience

Key Takeaways

  • Mini introduces Mini Mixed Reality using Cooper Hardtop.
  • Virtual reality in cars may pave the way for novel practical features as technology advances.
  • Automakers like BMW, Ferrari, and Honda are exploring how to use the tech to entertain and educate drivers.

The BMW Group has announced that its Mini brand has taken on virtual reality technology with a new innovation called Mini Mixed Reality. Much like BMW’s own take on the tech, MMR works with a VR headset that enriches the view out of the windows of a Cooper Hardtop with a visual representation of a digital world. It uses headset tracking, acceleration, sound, and a connection to the vehicle’s operating system to ensure clear imagery on the move. Naturally, a high-end computer is also required to make all this work, but as the technology progresses, fewer, smaller components will be necessary. So, what’s the point?

2024 Mini Cooper Hardtop

Base MSRP

$25,800

Engine

1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas

Horsepower

134 hp

Fuel Economy

27/38 MPG

Torque

162 lb-ft @ 1480 rpm

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

Drivetrain

Front-Wheel Drive

Why Virtual Reality Matters

Right now, this technology cannot be applied to the cars that we drive. But when self-driving cars become a reality someday in the distant future, drivers will be able to step away from the duties of keeping the car safely operated, and that will mean an idle mind, which is why Mercedes is already offering TikTok integration. Moreover, in a digital world, those who do not continually innovate until the technology becomes ubiquitous will be left behind.

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When all cars are autonomous, automakers will need to differentiate the in-car experience not through driving dynamics but with features that pique curiosity and stimulate the mind. Those who have a headstart on virtual reality may have an edge in a world that consumes entertainment content in increasing quantities. Ferrari also envisions applications for the racetrack, so it’s worth exploring this avenue of car technology.

New Experiences

Porsche and Audi have also been exploring virtual reality in differing ways, and Honda has patented an in-car gaming system that allows users to pretend they’re performing drive-by shootings. Less violent applications are also surely possible, but again, these ideas rely on VR technology advancing considerably further. In the meantime, automakers are slowly introducing the tech to the public. BMW has collaborated with Epic Games to make driving in the virtual world using a real car on a closed course possible, and it’s likely that Mini will do the same. BMW has several potential applications in mind, including helping a driver find their car in a parking lot, alerting them to hazards on the roads, and informing them of changes in the vehicle’s condition, such as battery charge, for example. With Mini joining the same fight, BMW may just achieve these innovations before its rivals.

Related

BMW Has Massive Plans For Virtual Reality While Driving

We’re thinking Forza-style driving aids, but there are plenty of other potential applications.

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