If you've ever taken a long journey, you'll know just how dull the experience can be. Particularly for passengers, the never-ending stream of motorway and fields tends to get old pretty quick.
That's something Meta and BMW are working together to improve. The pair have been working hard behind the scenes to design a better platform for using AR and VR headsets – like the Meta Quest Pro – when in a moving vehicle.
Why is that so difficult? Well, it's all to do with something called a non-inertial reference frame. Basically, when you're using AR in a vehicle that is also moving at speed, the headset can't decipher your movements from the fast-paced movement of the environment around you.
That is, until now. The team at Meta and BMW have cracked it, by using data from the sensor array in the car. This data is communicated to the headset, allowing it to track both the movement of the car, and the movement of the headset relative to that.
This allows users to operate the headset in a moving vehicle, just like they would if they were stood still. The video released today shows a passenger in a virtual meeting, listening to music with a virtual lighting show and lots more, without being troubled by the environment.
Of course, the bigger question around AR still exists. Many remain unconvinced or unenthused by the current offering, which has been described as a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
But I, for one, am excited by the prospect. I recently had the chance to use the Rokid Max AR headset and really enjoyed the experience. That working in a moving vehicle on a long journey could be really beneficial, allowing users to consume content, surf the web and send emails, without having to look at a phone screen – something which I personally can't do in a moving car.
I'd also wager that this isn't the end of the road for this technology. Getting over this hurdle is the start point, but continued development will allow for new possibilities in the space, which could revolutionise the way we drive.
Meta suggest that future advancements in this space could allow for a range of world-locked virtual content. This could be things like identifying local landmarks and points of interest. Is it necessary? No. But that never stood in the way of advancing technology before.