BMW launches its ‘Virtual Viewer’ web browser-based Augmented Reality experience powered by 8th Wall

In Augmented Reality News 

April 14, 2021 – Automotive manufacturer BMW is today launching its first augmented reality (AR) tool in the UK with the release of the ‘BMW Virtual Viewer’, which offers a new way for potential customers to explore the BMW range, select and customise a model, and learn about the company’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

The BMW Virtual Viewer is a step towards the digitisation of the customer experience, allowing anyone to enjoy the viewer via a mobile web browser, with no need to download an app. The experience is powered by 8th Wall’s web-based augmented reality technology platform.

Through the experience, users are able to instantly place a new BMW PHEV X5, X1 or 3 Series Touring vehicle anywhere in their home or surrounding space and see what it would look like at real size. Users can customise the car by picking a colour, choosing the alloys, and tweaking the interior. They can also interact with the car, opening the doors, turning the lights on, even playing the radio. Users can also discover the inner workings in X-Ray view and see how a PHEV switches between petrol and electric mode. 

The BMW Virtual Viewer also offers hands-free voice navigation, meaning users can simply talk to a BMW chatbot in order to explore every aspect of the experience, ask questions about the PHEV range or electric/hybrid driving, and partake in a few playful quizzes. 

Sophie Chiappe, Brand Communications Manager at BMW UK, said: “At BMW we want to ensure that we introduce digital tools in a way that really help prospective customers along their decision journey when choosing a car, whilst ensuring it’s fun and user friendly. This AR work has been designed to be engaging to use, from the navigation through to the built-in quizzes, and we’re excited to launch it showcasing three of our plug-in hybrid cars and the technology they offer.” 

This first iteration of the BMW Virtual Viewer focusses on PHEV models, to support a wider campaign developed by creative agency FCB Inferno. However, the platform will be updated with new models in line with new launches, according to the company.

Katy Wright, MD at FCB Inferno, commented: “Creating a customisable AR experience for BMW was the logical next step for an auto brand with innovation at its heart, and adding a level of voice control takes this to the next level.”

In addition to being powered by 8th Wall’s technology, several other companies have helped to create the BMW Virtual Viewer, including Antiloop, which built the experience, with support from CRAFT. Media support will be provided by Wavemaker, with Zone digital providing retailer support.

The BMW Virtual Viewer can be experienced on any smartphone or tablet at www.bmwvirtualviewer.co.uk.

Image credit: FCB Inferno / BMW

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.