InnovationWearable Tech

Audi Teams Up With Samsung To Offer Virtual Test Drives

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Petrolheads will be able to try out the new Audi TT S Coupé thanks to Oculus-enabled headsets

Shoppers hoping to test drive the new Audi TT S Coupé can now do so without ever having to set foot in the car, thanks to a deal between the German auto giant and Samsung.

The South Korean manufacturer will provide Samsung Gear VR headsets powered by Oculus technology to 115 Audi Centres in the UK to preview the car maker’s new TT Coupe and TT Roadster, set for launch in spring 2015.

The headsets, which are only available for the course of this week, will use Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 device to display the in-depth experience, as the device comes with specially designed accessories to facilitate virtual reality displays.

oculus vr 2Immersive

The Audi VR experience, which also uses Samsung Level Over headphones, sees the TT’s designer, Juergen Loeffler, acting as a virtual guide to explaining the concepts behind the car’s design, before taking the wearer on a lap of the new Neuberg Audi race track.

“This ground-breaking initiative adds a touch of theatre to automotive retail, allowing Audi customers to experience the thrill of the new third-generation TTS in its full glory,” explained Nick Ratcliffe, head of marketing for Audi UK.

“We will become the first automotive manufacturer to install virtual reality in every one of our UK sales outlets. It is yet another example of the Audi ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ philosophy in action.”

Several retailers have attempted to introduce virtual reality into their sales experience in an attempt to better immerse customers into their product.

This also includes Samsung, which showed off a concept VR headset at its recent Futurescape pop-up store, which aimed to show the potential of next-generation technology in a retail environment. The headset used Augmented Reality apps to let customers visualise how an item such as a carpet or large appliance would look in their home or office.

“The Samsung Gear VR is a powerful representation of how we are continuing to innovate with the Gear series,” said Ines van Gennip, marketing director, IT & Mobile Division, Samsung UK & Ireland.

“It offers people a totally new way of using mobile technology to interact with a brand, and in this case have an immersive experience with the new Audi TTS. The effect is the equivalent of being sat in the passenger’s seat of the car, meaning Audi customers don’t have to imagine driving the TTS – with the Gear VR that experience becomes much more real.”

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