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article imageMicrosoft HoloLens teams up with Volvo to reinvent selling cars

By James Walker     Nov 20, 2015 in Technology
In another indication of where Microsoft wants to take its HoloLens holographic headset technology, the company has announced it is working with Swedish car manufacturer Volvo to reinvent car buying as an interactive and enjoyable experience.
Microsoft released a video today which shows how it is working with Volvo. Representatives of both companies direct praise at each other. The two claim they have a shared vision of how emerging technologies can be used in the automotive industry, starting from the consumer's perspective. Shannon Monroe, Senior Producer at Microsoft, says Volvo opened the project by saying "We love technology, but only if it makes peoples' lives simpler."
The two companies see HoloLens being used in car showrooms to give people more freedom over the customisation of their vehicle. When a buyer walks into a dealership today, they see a few examples of the marque's key models. The full colour palette is confined to a paper brochure though, something that HoloLens can change.
The salesperson could give you a headset that lets you see every model the manufacturer produces. You could change the colour to anything in the range and even specify the level of trim to fit to the interior. Then, HoloLens could create a hologram of the car, letting you walk around it and look at every area. It's a much more engaging experience than looking at square boxes in a brochure.
In a press release on the partnership, Volvo recognises Microsoft as the "leading platform and productivity company" and HoloLens as the "world's first fully untethered holographic computer." It says it "might be used in the future to redefine how customers first encounter and explore a car, as well as how cars might be bought and sold in the future."
Microsoft and Volvo are working together to use the HoloLens holographic headset in car showrooms
Microsoft and Volvo are working together to use the HoloLens holographic headset in car showrooms
Microsoft
HoloLens can also go further though. Many people know very little of what their car looks like underneath, simply because they've never even looked. With a hologram, the body and paint can be instantly removed, showing the "soul" of the car and the power behind its motion.
Aric Dromi, Chief Futurologist at Volvo Cars, says in the video: "You can do something you could never do before. You can see the soul of the car. You can strip the body out and stay with the skeleton… and you can play around with it."
In the future, Volvo wants to see HoloLens become involved in more areas of its business. It shows examples of assembly line workers wearing the headsets so they can keep a constant eye on the details of the car they're working on and the parts they need to fit. A vehicle moving through the production plant could have its schematics overlaid on it in an instant, simplifying the diagnosis of a manufacturing problem.
Microsoft and Volvo are working together to use the HoloLens holographic headset in car showrooms
Microsoft and Volvo are working together to use the HoloLens holographic headset in car showrooms
Microsoft
Microsoft is working with several industrial partners to see how they can incorporate HoloLens into their business. For its part, Volvo has invested in technology for years to the extent that its cars are now famed for featuring cutting-edge safety systems and accident prevention mechanisms.
Now, it wants to continue that heritage by helping to test one of Microsoft's most innovative products. Volvo's Alec Dromi ends the video by attempting a description of HoloLens and its involvement in the automotive industry, saying "It's um…. It's cool. It's, it's, way cool."
More about Microsoft, Volvo, Cars, Technology, Automotive
 
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