The Reality Wire - 21 August 2020 1

Mark manages all of the content for VRWorldTech. To discuss an idea or pitch a story, drop him a line at editor@vrworldtech.com

In The Reality Wire this week, Volvo Group highlights AR Stories, Mercedes-Benz previews AR HUD, KT Corp develops VR entertainment service for airline, SimCentric trials for VR training system continue, and Vuzix reports second quarter revenue boost from smart glasses

The Reality Wire returns after a month-long hiatus—please forgive us, VRWorldTech Magazine was released on 3 August (if you didn’t see it, do so now!)—with fresh news from the automotive sector.

Two mega brands, Volvo Group and Mercedes-Benz, recently pointed us to their work in immersive technology.

Did you know that Volvo Group has its own AR app, called AR Stories?

Available on all good app stores, AR Stories catalogues Volvo Group’s latest innovations, using the immersive technology to immerse users in, among others, a concept for an autonomous electric truck, an emission-free quarry and the D11 engine.

It’s free, at the very least a few minutes of fun, and yet another sign that the Volvo organisation is at the forefront of immersive technology.

Mercedes-Benz took to social media to provide a preview of the AR heads-up display (HUD) that will feature in the next-generation S-Class out next year.

The AR HUD will overlay navigation directions and live distance indicators on the windscreen. These will alert the driver to the position of vehicles in front and various hazards.

The prospect of having this technology in cars as early as 2021 is exciting.

Jaguar Land Rover teased earlier this year that it was developing an immersive HUD that could lead to ‘smart cabins’ in which vehicle passengers can select their own content and information.

Driver information and navigation are the obvious places to start and we can’t wait to see how immersive technology is applied to the cars of the very near future.

Like their ground-dwelling peers, the aviation sector is no stranger to immersive technology and The Reality Wire can report that South Korea’s largest telecoms company, KT Corp, will develop a VR entertainment service for air passengers of Jin Air Co.

In partnership with Hanjin Information Systems & Telecommunications (HIST), KT Corp will provide its VR service platform, Super VR, so that Jin Air passengers can access its immersive media content library.

Super VR from KT Corp was released in 2019. Credit: KT Corp
Super VR from KT Corp was released in 2019. Credit: KT Corp

The new VR service will begin with international routes favoured by family travelers later this year.

KT Corp, HIST and Jin Air are also customising the Super VR platform for connection to aircraft computer servers so that in-flight public announcements can be sent to passengers wearing headsets.

Next, you may remember SimCentric, the software and smart wearable company developing a training simulator for the British armed forces. Trials for SAF-TAC were put on hold following the outbreak of Covid-19, but they’re now back on and the Royal Air Force (RAF) has been putting the system through its paces.

SimCentric was awarded £300,000 earlier this year to develop and trial the simulator. After an initial successful trial, further tests were carried out with the RAF Regiment training wing.

Sergeant Minshall of the training wing support squadron, said: “Over the trial [SAF-TAC] has allowed me to gain further understanding of how we can incorporate VR into training.”

The SimCentric/RAF trial is part of a wider programme to incorporate VR training into the British armed forces. Credit: The RAF
The SimCentric/RAF trial is part of a wider programme to incorporate VR training into the British armed forces. Credit: The RAF

“With the given opportunity to have input from the instructors on the trial, it will make for a system that is fit for our needs. I am looking forward to seeing this become incorporated into our training in the future.”

News from the hardware space now and Vuzix Corporation, maker of smart glasses and AR technologies, has revealed impressive second quarter revenue of $3 million in large part to higher sales of its Blade and M-Series products.

Paul Travers, president and chief executive officer of Vuzix, explained: “The worldwide coronavirus outbreak has impacted the day-to-day operations of our enterprise customers across numerous market verticals and this has accelerated the enterprise adoption of our smart glasses.”

Vuzix sold a record $2.3 million worth of Vuzix smart glasses in the second quarter of this year, with healthcare emerging as an important sector for the company.

Travers said: “Healthcare has emerged as an important business segment for Vuzix, including telemedicine and telehealth solutions related to patient care, training and surgery, as well as supporting healthcare companies like medical device manufacturers that have active equipment installations in hospitals and medical facilities.”

AR has emerged as a compelling immersive technology in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Vuzix’s own Blade capable of screening and detecting individuals in a crowd that have an elevated temperature when paired with the right software.

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