I love driving cars and I love driving them fast. I have even attended some racing schools to hone my skills. However would I dream of doing it whilst essentially "blinded" wearing a VR headset? Well... I probably would but please don't try this at home!
Castrol Edge stuck Formula Drift driver Matt Powers drives behind the wheel of a race car whilst wearing an Oculus Rift headset. Matt then drove around a course inside a virtual world while pulling some insane drifts. Matt's passenger may need a change of underwear...
Castrol Edge claims this is the first time anyone has driven a moving vehicle while wearing a virtual reality headset and who is going to argue with them?
How do you get all the kit needed into a car to make it work as well as it would need to?
Adam Amaral, creative technologist for the video revealed a little of the technical challenges in getting Oculus Rift into a moving car and matching up real and online driving:
A combination of sensors and the cars onboard data were used. Specifically we used a RTK GPS unit which is accurate up to 1 cm to pinpoint the starting point of the car, so that the starting point in the virtual level matched up to the real world. Data captured included steering angle, throttle, brake, handbrake, orientation and heading. Since the Oculus Rift is not meant to be in a moving vehicle, we had to subtract the cars orientation from the Oculus Rift's, so the headset didn't think he was turning his head when the car turned.
All these sensors make for some pretty heavy processing needs. All this data needs to be fed into the HMD quick enough to provide the low latency needed to allow Matt Power's to power through his driving
We fed all this data into a game engine so we effectively were using the real car as a giant game controller to our virtual car. This technique allowed us to update his position at at the required 75Hz to match the Oculus Rift refresh rate and give a fairly low nausea experience.
Think I'll keep my Oculus Rift on my desk.
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