Virtual reality is coming to the passenger seat near you, at least as long as you own an Audi vehicle with the brand’s most current operating system, anyway. The Audi spinoff, Holoride, announced this week that it will begin offering the Pioneer Pack for just under $700, which includes an HTC VIVE Flow headset, an 8BitDo Pro 2 Gamepad, and a year-long subscription to the Holoride platform, for those who own a 2023 Audi or newer (with the MIB 3 system). I got a quick taste of the strange in-car VR experience around my neighborhood in Los Angeles and, in spite of a tendency toward motion sickness, managed to play a video game and watch a little bit of Netflix before tapping out.
Like my cohort, who tried the Holoride experience during CES in 2019, I am not a VR aficionado, though I am fully on board (and regularly use) AR glasses for work; the Nreal AR glasses I use have made a world of difference when I have to bang out 10,000 words in a single day, resulting in a lot less computer fatigue and repetitive motion pain. So, when the engineers from Holoride strapped the HTC Vive Flow headset to my face, it wasn’t an unfamiliar sensation, but it was far more visually restrictive than I’m comfortable with, especially in the back seat of a moving vehicle. The team handed me a familiar game controller, and we were off, in spite of my nerves about the possibility of getting ill in mere minutes in the back seat of the BMW X5 that the team was using for demo purposes.
When you first strap in, you adjust the eyepieces of the HTC Vive Flow headset the same way you would adjust binocular diopters. I don’t wear glasses except when I’m reading or working at the computer but did have a hard time finding a reasonably clear image in the glasses. I don’t wear my glasses when I’m wearing the Nreals, but in retrospect, I probably should have used them under the relatively lightweight Holoride headset since the images never really got super clear.