The True AR Immersion: Seamless Connection of the Real and Virtual Worlds
What if a car ride is no longer limited to being a form of transportation? Imagine going through this every day — you get into a car, sit down, maybe look outside the window and admire the scenery, maybe scroll through your Facebook posts mindlessly…and before you know it, you arrive at your destination.
Kind of boring, isn’t it?
But what if a car ride is a gateway to a different reality? A place where you can just sit back and forget about life for a while? Instead of looking at the two-dimensional videos on your phone, you actually get to participate in the entertainment itself. You are part of that whole interaction.
Sounds exciting? Well, this is now possible through WayRay’s proprietary True AR system.
What is True AR?
First of all, what is True AR?
The term stands for True Augmented Reality (AR), and it is a holographic technology developed by WayRay and incorporated into Holograktor, WayRay’s newest concept car. In fact, Holograktor was designed to showcase its True AR technology — a Metaverse on Wheels.
As opposed to virtual reality (like those that was used during Facebook’s, now Meta, press conference), WayRay’s technology is based on Augmented Reality (AR). While virtual reality is fully — as the term implied — virtual, AR remains grounded in reality, as it is simply enhancing the real-world experience through computer-generated perceptual information, a requirement for automobiles.
“The seamless connection of the virtual and real worlds will offer greater safety, comfort, services, and entertainment. From now on, every occupant in a vehicle will be able to enjoy a completely new visual experience while traveling,” said Vitaly Ponomarev, Founder and CEO of WayRay.
So how does it work exactly? How does it create a holographic projection?
How Does True AR™ Work?
Here’s how the holographic head-up display (HUD) works technically — a compact laser unit generates the light beam, which was then transmitted through a special optical fiber to the picture generating unit (PGU) in the dashboard, and from there it reaches the windshield with its laminated polymer layers, which in turns create the virtual images. All of the components have been developed and tested rigorously by WayRay, in collaboration with some of their partners, in order to achieve their vision (no puns intended).
The WayRay team has worked with AGP eGlass, one of the world’s leading high-tech glazing manufacturers, to develop the glazings used in the Deep Reality Display system. WayRay also entered a strategic partnership with Covestro, one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-tech polymers, to develop the holographic optical element (HOE) used in the windshield.
However, in order to achieve True AR, there’s one more crucial component.
The Perfect Fusion
Last but not least is the AR Rendering Engine, or ARRE for short. It processes data from sensors, cameras, and map information to precisely calculate the vehicle’s position and renders virtual objects in real-time. Without this, it would not be able to achieve the perfect fusion of real and virtual objects.
“We have a rendering engine that renders the content quickly around the car,” added Vitaly. “Today we have an overall system delay of 20 milliseconds, which is a difference that you cannot see.”
This is how WayRay’s Holograktor is able to achieve True AR — everything that happens around the car is rendered and shown instantly to the occupants, giving them peace of mind while enjoying the content.
Now you might be wondering — what’s so special about True AR display? Holography is not exactly a new technology, right?
True AR HUD
In short, WayRay True AR HUD outperforms any conventional variants while maintaining a small package that can be fitted into any car.
While holographic displays aren’t exactly a novelty, conventional variants have flaws that limit their usability. Due to their use of lens and mirror collimator, it requires special attention to avoid image ghosting. On top of that, the field of view (FOV) is limited, and the distance to the virtual object plane tends to be rather close (less than five meters), further limiting its real-world usage.
Conventional holographic HUDs also utilize spherical reflectors, which require an additional piece of glass between the driver and the windshield. This leads to numerous safety concerns and overall low optical efficiency.
Whereas for WayRay True AR HUD, the holographic optical element is integrated into the windshield, which leads to higher efficiency with transparency. It also provides the largest possible FOV and virtual image plane at a greater distance without compromising on dimensions.
And the size? WayRay True AR HUD can do all of that while having a volume of roughly three liters, whereas conventional variants have a volume of around 18 liters — a drastic difference.
A Deep-Tech Approach is The New Black
The technology wouldn’t be possible without years of development from the ground up — a deep-tech approach, where everything was developed in-house in order to achieve the exact results desired.
“We learned that to do something in holography, you need to develop tools that don’t exist. Then, after you develop the tools, you develop the technology. After you develop the technology, you develop the product and then develop it for automotive, which is another level of complexity,” Vitaly explained.
Immersive Content Interaction
Back to WayRay’s Holograktor — it also sports a unique 2+1 seating layout, with two seats at the front and one seat at the back. This layout allowed the rear occupant to have an unobstructed vision of the True AR content projected onto the windshield.
“It’s tailored to the Metaverse — you’re in the Metaverse once you are in the driver’s seat or the throne seat in the back,” explained Vitaly.
Every seat is also equipped with two joysticks so that the drivers and passengers alike can interact with the content.
“It’s for people who want to play and want to create and consume content,“ Vitaly added.
When it comes to the entertainment itself, the applications will come from computer game developers, but in the future, (almost) anyone will be able to develop content for the WayRay True AR system. An app store is being designed, and the WayRay team has provided its own development tool (Software Development Kit = SDK) to speed up the process.
Stay tuned for our next blog article, where we will focus on the ride-hailing concept behind WayRay’s Holograktor.