Fiat takes augmented reality for a spin at Mobile World Congress
Accenture Interactive worked with FCA to create an application using Google's Project Tango developer kit that will transform the process of buying and configuring a new car. (Photo from Business Wire)
Published Wednesday, February 24, 2016 2:06PM EST
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first company to use Google's Project Tango technology as a tool for helping consumers to specify and explore a new car before signing on the dotted line.
Project Tango is in essence a smartphone or tablet with depth and distance sensing abilities. Its sensors perceive their environment in the same way as people, understanding exactly where every object is positioned within a three-dimensional space.
Google initially envisioned the technology as a way of mapping rooms or bringing a new element to immersive games, but with help from Accenture, FCA is harnessing these capabilities so that people can try on a car for size in the same way they would garments in a changing room.
"Augmented reality is set to transform the way car-buyers choose and configure vehicles through the provision of immersive technology because it provides an enjoyable, delightful experience for customers," said Luca Mentuccia, senior managing director and head of Accenture's Automotive practice.
The experience for the consumer when using the specially configured tablet is like walking around a full-size car and one that appears to be in the room with them, and because the device is totally mobile, it means that a potential car buyer could see how different cars in different colors look parked on the drive or whether or not they fill fit snugly in a parking space or the garage.
Although the demonstration unit at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is a prototype, Project Tango devices are set to come to market before the end of the year and some believe that it will only take one upgrade cycle for the technology to become standard equipment on smartphones and tablets.
"We believe dealers and car buyers will be quick to embrace this enhanced way of buying a car as the new devices become readily available, taking advantage of the 360-degree mapping environment to create this unique experience," Mentuccia said.
However, for the moment, FCA can claim to be the first to do so.