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As part of Germany Week, Auto Futures revisits an interview with a CEO of a start-up transforming the in-car experience.

These days holoride’s CEO, Nils Wollny, knocks around with Hollywood royalty. Earlier this year the Munich-based start-up announced that U.S. film and TV directors, Anthony and Joseph Russo, have joined its advisory board. The Russo Brothers are best known for directing four instalments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and most recently, Avengers: Endgame. They also directed episodes of the TV sitcom ‘Arrested Development’.

“We’re thrilled to add some of the world’s most talented industry leaders and pioneers to our advisory board,” states Wollny.

“It’s critical that holoride is equipped with experts that touch each key audience segment. From entertainment, to transportation, technology, and finance, holoride is tapping into a diverse suite of entrepreneurs to move our company forward,” he adds.

Holoride is causing a major buzz because it can quite literally transform a car into a moving theme park. Its technology synchronizes the motion and travel route of a vehicle with virtual reality content and this creates a hyper-immersive experience for passengers. 

“Our ultimate focus is on the passenger experience — to turn transit time, which is often perceived as wasted time, into valuable time. We want to help people on the go become happier, smarter and even more productive,” says Wollny.

Holoride Founders
Holoride Founders

No limit to where a car can take you

Holoride was spun out of Audi in 2018 but it remains an investor and partner. Nils and his co-founders – Marcus Kuehne and Daniel Profendiner – started with the ambition to establish an agnostic platform that unites car manufacturers, mobility providers and content creators.

Its platform utilises what holoride calls ‘elastic content’. Wollny explains: “It is influenced by the layout of the route (turns, straight passages, etc.), driving style and even the environment the car is driving through. With this, a new level of immersion is created. Our tech matches in real-time what passengers are seeing in the virtual world with the movement of the vehicle in the real world.”

For example, in October 2019, holoride partnered with Ford and Universal Pictures to launch the first in-vehicle VR experience available to the general public called the ‘Universal Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein’. Guests were offered the experience inside the latest Ford Explorer where riders strapped on a VR headset and were transported to the world of Frankenstein.

“Riders encountered virtual monsters and obstacles along the way. ‘You get beamed away’ was only one of the many reactions that show how thrilled riders are by this new type of in-vehicle experience.

“This partnership with Ford and Universal Pictures reinforced our belief that if OEMs want to unlock untapped digital revenue streams, they must focus on the experience of the passenger, as they are the ones that have ample time during the journey to focus on content that they can literally drive through. Suddenly there’s no limit to where a car can take you,” he notes.

Virtual Entertainment

As autonomous vehicles come to fruition and people need options to fill their time in the car, the possibilities will only go up from here.

Wollny says that his near-term goal is to have holoride in passenger vehicles within the next two years.

“People will no longer use their individual vehicles just to get from A-to-B, but they will be seeking an immersive experience instead. Because of this, you can expect to see the rise of in-vehicle entertainment in ride shares and the cost of the actual ride to go down. Ride sharing could become a commodity at almost no cost sooner than we think, and the only premium would be that of the experience you unlock during the trip.”

Wollny concludes: “Not only do we see entertainment being important for the passenger experience in the future, but in-car productivity, edutainment and relaxation possibilities will also be available to riders. As autonomous vehicles come to fruition and people need options to fill their time in the car, the possibilities will only go up from here.”

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