Japanese companies Nissan and NTT Docomo are testing technology in a moveable vehicle that promises to let drivers virtually see around corners and passengers interact through augmented reality (AR)-based avatars.
The technology, first revealed at the CES trade show in Las Vegas in January, is being tested at Grandrive, Nissan’s proving ground in Yokosuka, Japan. Docomo has supplied the 5G mobile communications that underpin the system.
Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible, or I2V, merges the real and virtual worlds. By combining information from sensors outside and inside the vehicle with data from the cloud, it helps drivers to see what’s farther down the road, behind a building or around a corner.
I2V also connects drivers and passengers to the Metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact through avatars. Family, friends or others in a remote location can appear inside the car as three-dimensional AR avatars to provide company or assistance.
For the field test, the companies are using Docomo’s high-speed, large-capacity, low-latency mobile 5G connectivity to transmit avatar data wirelessly into the test vehicle, and in-car camera views from the vehicle, in real time. The test vehicle is based on Nissan’s NV350 Caravan.
The companies will evaluate how the people inside the car and those represented through avatars sense each other’s presence via the user interfaces. The usability of I2V’s interactive communication features will also be assessed.
Nissan and Docomo plan to continue their joint field tests and research on I2V technology and its applications, and to offer novel connected-car experiences to customers in the future.