July 10, 2017 – Automobile manufacturer Acura has announced that it will host “What A Race,” a live augmented reality (AR) driving experience, in order to showcase the performance of the 2018 TLX A-Spec sedan. Acura will broadcast the AR race live via Facebook Livestream, Twitter and YouTube today at 5pm PT/8pm ET, with an expected duration of approximately one hour. After the event, the race will remain in its entirety on Acura’s social channels.
Acura has teamed up with Current Studios to concept and execute the “What A Race” experience. The team patched into the TLX’s ABS system to accurately track the vehicle’s wheel speed and direction. To further mitigate any potential technical issues during the race, the team custom fabricated a device attached to the under carriage of the vehicle, allowing the location of the car in the AR world to be automatically reset remotely and quickly, as needed.
From behind the wheel of the new 2018 TLX A-Spec with SH-AWD, four drivers will compete in the “What a Race” AR experience, challenging one another for the fastest overall time during 3-lap individual runs. Each lap will trigger a new AR course visible to the driver and the Facebook Live audience, with a unique set of visuals and obstacles that will task the Acura TLX A-Spec’s handling to overcome. Cameras mounted to the drivers’ helmets will bring viewers directly in on the action, and several additional cameras positioned throughout the racecourse will provide a view from multiple perspectives of the race.
Viewers will also play an active role in the race and serve as a virtual pit crew. Prompts will encourage fans to use reaction emojis throughout the race, revealing shortcuts and clearing obstacles to influence the course’s landscape and help the drivers succeed.
“What a Race” drivers will each sport custom-built race helmets with augmented reality technology embedded in the extra-wide visor, allowing for a full-color HD 80-degree viewing experience. The custom helmets are built around a racing helmet used for general driver protection and safety, but include a HD screen with mirrored lens technology for an expanded field of view, along with a gyroscope to monitor head location within the car. The helmets are connected to a computer in the rear seats that provide the high performance rendering capacity needed to keep the experience running smoothly and visually sharp at high speeds – all of which will be powered by the Acura TLX.
Video credit: Acura/YouTube
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Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.