Microsoft is working with Volkswagen to bring augmented reality to cars through a new “Mobile Platform” mode for Hololens 2.
Neither company goes into exact details on how this will work, but there are some pointers on what to expect. Microsoft, for example, said “Moving Platform” could be used to train drivers on how to handle adverse road conditions.
It is not about training everyday drivers. Instead, the focus, as with everything else in the HoloLens 2 orbit, is business and enterprise, meaning this platform could be used to train, say, fleet drivers.
Enhanced with 3D models
Looking at the prototype images, the mode works by placing 3D models in and out of a car. You can only see them if you put on the HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset. For navigation, you will have a map for your route placed virtually on top of the dash with an arrow pointing where you need to go.
HoloLens 2 will also display a holographic pedestrian warning at crosswalks to alert you to watch out for people. It will even tell you the temperature inside the car.
Microsoft tested the mobile platform prototype by having Volkswagen researchers connect one of its vehicles to HoloLens. The Volkswagen team then worked with Microsoft and provided feedback on how to improve HoloLens’ mobile platform mode.
This update builds on Microsoft’s current version of the mobile platform, which is designed for use on ships in the ocean. Ocean waves can disrupt the HoloLen 2, so the mode stabilizes the device’s view.
Microsoft doesn’t stop with cars and boats. There are plans to bring its Mobile Platform to “…elevators, trains, [and] other moving environments.
This new partnership with Volkswagen may be a way to breathe new life into the HoloLens project. He’s been through a tumultuous time recently.
In early February 2022, HoloLens 3 was cancelled. The problem was that no one knew what the purpose of the headset was, which may be why some of the HoloLens 3 team jumped ship to work for Meta on their metaverse projects.
However, with this Moving Platform Volkswagen partnership, Microsoft is cementing the purpose of HoleLens 2 as a mixed reality tool for virtual training and insights in an ever-increasing variety of work scenarios. One can only hope that the HoloLens headset and mobile platform will one day end up in high school driver education classes as well.