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bmw mixed reality drive with varjo xr-3

Varjo Powering BMW's One-of-a-Kind Mixed Reality Driving Experience

BMW M, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has pushed forward the concept of future cars with leading-edge XR technology from Epic Games and Varjo.

World premiere of BMW's ///M Mixed Reality at WebSummit 2022

As part of the WebSummit 2022 event in Lisbon, BMW celebrated a world premiere of merging the virtual and physical world with its new ///M Mixed Reality experience. During the event, BMW shared the journey of creating ///M Mixed Reality at the same time while journalists had an opportunity to test the BMW M2 coupe in mixed reality on a closed course in Lisbon.

Varjo enables BMW to offer a one-of-kind driving experience

By utilizing Varjo and Epic Games’ technology, the BMW M team has created a unique driving experience combining the virtual and physical worlds. The driver is wearing a Varjo XR-3 mixed reality headset while driving in the new BMW M2 – all this powered with gaming elements in the virtual world brought by Unreal Engine

“What started as a small experiment of our engineers became a truly amazing technology. It’s not only bringing the virtual world into our vehicles – even more: our cars became a controller that merges virtual and physical worlds like never before.”

 Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH

The most unique driving experience ever built in mixed reality

“It’s not just about bringing virtual worlds into our cars – it’s much more – the car becomes a controller that merges the virtual and the physical worlds in a way you’ve never seen before,” Franciscus van Meel says.

As the driving takes place in both reality and the virtual world, the BMW team needed to have the most immersive and accurate mixed reality solution – Varjo XR-3 mixed reality.

As a result, when a driver sits in a car, he or she can see the car’s real interior while the true-to-life, pixel-perfect virtual world is mapped around you outside car windows. Suddenly, you are no longer in a parking lot in Lisbon but on a racetrack in a futuristic world. Varjo XR-3’s ultra-low latency (<20 ms) and high-fidelity 12-megapixel video stream transfer all vehicle movements to the virtual world so the driver can take a real car for a race in the virtual world.

All this can be done while effortlessly switching between XR, AR, and VR.

BMW mixed reality drive with Varjo XR-3 headset in WebSummit 2022
BMW mixed reality drive with Varjo XR-3 device at Websummit 2022

Shaping the future of mobility

While this is not the first time Varjo is enabling mixed reality car drives, this is the first time BMW M is bringing their proof-of-concept for a larger audience to experience how the overlap of digital and virtual is looking. And what is the most important – showcasing what the future of the automotive might look like.

 “It’s not just about building cars. We are shaping the mobility of the future. And the future follows different laws.”

– Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH

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