Auto shows often provide millions of people a low-cost, no-pressure way to experience brands and walk around new vehicles to get a sense of them in person and how they might look in their driveways. But with major events canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, Volkswagen has turned to augmented reality as a way to bring that walk-around experience back to customers.
Launched last week, the AR experience for the Volkswagen ID.4 and Taos allows those interested in the Volkswagen electric SUV and upcoming small SUV to experience and interact with the buzzworthy models easily at home. Available on almost all mobile devices with a web browser and camera, the virtual experience puts an ID.4 in your environment a few months before it arrives in dealerships.
The app “enables your driveway or living room to become a showroom,” said David Galbraith, director of experiential marketing and brand partnerships at Volkswagen of America. “You can walk around the vehicle, spin it and examine it from all angles. You can get a pretty realistic view of what the car will look like in your driveway or garage.”
The mobile AR experience provides customers a more engaging view of the vehicle than traditional videos or still images can provide and gives users the ability to control and customize the virtual car at the ease of their fingertips. The seamless interface allows users the ability to walk around a virtual 360-degree version of the SUV and customize its appearance with several different color and wheel options and explore the interior as well.
“All you have to do is lift your camera, scan the QR code and you’re on your way,” Galbraith said.
The new experience took an international team of 17 three months to execute, from start to finish, and was designed as a browser-based module, rather than an app, to make the user experience as easy as possible. While Volkswagen uses AR apps in its factory and vehicle development, it’s the first time using the technology to engage customers. Galbraith said reception so far has been positive, and depending on feedback AR implementation could be expanded
“The sky is really the limit on what the capabilities are of this technology,” he said.