Let’s face it, augmented reality is pretty darn awesome. True, it might sap your camera battery faster than a dog with free run of a food cupboard, but while it lasts, particularly with Apples ARKit, it can do some amazing looking stuff.
Automobile manufacturers have used augmented reality for years to test out designs and concepts. But now, thanks to developments such as ARKit we can all now enjoy a virtual ‘test drive’ of different types of potential car purchases. While by no means the only manufacturer to take advantage of this new development, BMW has released an update to one of the better examples of a virtual car showroom with its BMW i Visualiser app for its electric car range.
Featuring the new BMW i3 and i8 (Apple really does have a lot to answer for with this ‘i’ business), the app asks you to find a nice big flat area such as a parking space, or in my case the kitchen. You can then rotate and resize the car to fine tune things, and hey presto you are now the owner of a brand spanking new virtual car, possibly quite literally in your living room! You can walk around it as if it is life size on your driveway, with all the lighting being calculated in a realistic way. You can open and close the doors, operate the windscreen wipers etc, on top of being able to choose your exterior and interior colours. It works pretty well, right down to having to get on your knees in order to be low enough to 'sit' inside the i8.
Such an app is a marketing executives dream because if you are thinking of buying a car it draws you further in emotionally as you build an attachment to the virtual product that you are interacting with. It’s one thing to imagine the car on your driveway. It is quite another to walk around it as if it was actually there.
The app is very responsive and seems pretty stable, although as I mentioned at the top of the article, it does sap battery power. But it goes to show that, much more than fictional entertainment, AR and VR is very well suited to the demands and innovations required of new sales techniques, and it will be very interesting to see this area progress. See the app in action below and download it to try for yourself.
Know of an innovative AR app? Let us know below. Right, I’m off to pretend that I can afford a BMW i8.
Thanks to Electrek for bringing this to our attention.