If you thought Audi has been in hibernation, think again. While the mothership realigns its Indian strategy, the digital team has been hard at work with a virtual reality retail tool that puts you in the driver's seat. Or well, any other seat in the car if you choose to!
The Audi VR Experience simulates a life-size virtual car of the model you have set your eyes on and recreates it in a virtual showroom. During my demo at the Audi (India) HQ in Mumbai, I was instantly transported to the azure skies and shores of Monte Carlo where an A8L was waiting for me to get up close and personal with. Through the VR headset, you can walk around the car, admire it from any angle, change the lighting conditions from daytime to night, and swap between different trim options, wheel styles, colour options and even the stitching on the upholstery!
Using a Samsung VR headset and controllers, you can quickly choose a space around the car and teleport yourself using a click to that location for a look at your A8L from a different angle. Even the scale of the car can be changed if you want a birds-eye view of your newest purchase. Designed to give potential customers a more closer estimation of what their actual car would look like, this tool obviously reduces inventory costs for dealers by a huge margin, allowing them to showcase virtually any variant and model without ever investing in a demo car!
The resolution is great around the centre while the edges get a bit blurry, but in essence, you can estimate what a customised car will look like much better than in a brochure. The experience is enhanced by virtual actions too, like changing the colour of the ambient lighting by gesturing on a virtual hotspot.
Rolling in to select Audi dealerships already, there is also an iPad AR version for dealers not yet ready to jump on the full VR experience. It allows for the same kind of customisation, although you won’t get the feeling of being seated inside the car; however, it’s still a step up from going through endless pages of a product catalogue. Owners of existing Audis (MY2018 and up) also get a treat in the form of the myAudi Connect app. A full-featured app that provides options like geofencing and tracking your vehicle to even booking service appointments and monitoring service history.
It’s a great tool if you want to get nerdy with your Audi. It also has a tool to make you a better driver by competing against your own self with the Driver Behaviour Score, which gives you telemetry data on how hard you braked or accelerated, thereby allowing you to make changes along your daily route to become a more mindful driver, unless you’re applying for a Super License.
While 2020 seems to be a year when Audi (India) will be on the offensive, they have ended 2019 with a brand new A6 that is packed to the gills with tech. And with the VR program rolling out, the next-gen A8L is set to follow suit as is the Q8. Bring it on, we say!