CES: Audi-Backed Startup Holoride Brings Motoverse to Cars

Audi-backed startup Holoride is bringing virtual reality entertainment to vehicles via a puck-like device it says consumers can integrate into any vehicle. The product, unveiled at CES 2023, marks a turning point for the company, which thus far has focused on B-to-B sales to automakers, although the company’s primary focus has been Audi vehicles. The suggested retail price on the consumer offering is $799 for a package that includes the device retrofit, an HTC Vive Flow headset, a safety strap and a one-year Holoride subscription. The Holoride retrofit is also available standalone for $199.

The device (below), about the size of an Amazon Echo Dot, “weighs less than a half a pound and mounts via a suction cup on a vehicle’s windshield,” writes TechCrunch, adding that “up to two headsets can be connected to the Holoride retrofit simultaneously, allowing two passengers to enjoy Holoride at the same time in the car.”

The hardware comes with a USB-C to USB-A cord that connects with the vehicle, and a lithium-ion battery said to provide up to 14 hours of use per charge.

“Each new ride becomes the blueprint for your next immersive adventure,” Nils Wollny,  Holoride CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. Holoride syncs to the host vehicle’s movement and location data, connecting to the VR headsets via Bluetooth.

While “VR in the car” sounds like a recipe for motion sickness, CoinDesk says Holoride solves that problem by using artificial intelligence “to analyze the car’s motion in real time, combining that with the head movements of the wearer to smooth out the experience and ensure any barf bags stay in the seat-back pocket,” adding that having tested the product at CES 2023, “we can confirm that it works.”

Holoride has also added a metaverse element that it cheekily calls “the Motoverse.” Powered by the RIDE token, based on the MultiversX blockchain (formerly Elrond), the Motoverse “incentivizes developers by acting as an in-game loyalty token with real value, and for users, it functions as a currency, portable across games compatible with Holoride as well as any future products that choose to integrate RIDE into the experience,” CoinDesk writes.

Holoride, which debuted in 2019, has updated its VR catalog, which now includes educational apps such as “Einstein Brain Trainer” as well as entertainment titles like “Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven” and “Pixel Ripped 1995: On the Road.”

“The full lineup also includes a custom web browser and an Android mirroring feature for smartphone screens,” TechCrunch reports.

CoinDesk says “Holoride’s target customer isn’t necessarily a metaverse enthusiast, but rather a busy parent looking for a different experience for their kids in the back seat on long drives.”

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