Image Credit: Tayeb Mezahda (Pixabay)
These days, augmented and virtual reality are two of the “hot” buzzwords in the tech startup world. WayRay, a startup based in Switzerland, knows this first hand. After their recent $80 million Series C funding round (thanks to Porsche, Hyundai and Alibaba), it looks like they’ll have a solid chance at their achieving their goal: to bring augmented reality technology to the automobile industry.
Their idea seems like it’s come straight from a video game: digital imagery projected onto car windshields. The inputs could range from information about a driver’s surroundings to nearby driving hazards. As part of their differentiating factor, WayRay has stated that their technology utilizes a smaller projector than competing augmented reality displays.
The result? Not only will they be able to insert their tech into a larger variety of car models, but they’ll be able to project the images at a less headache-inducing distance from the human field of vision.
Known for investing in technology startups, Porsche was the initial investor in WayRay. Having groomed the Swiss startup in their Startup Autobahn program, Porsche has also made similar investments in other startups geared towards the auto industry. Two notable stakes they’ve taken have been the Israeli startup Anagog and the Croatian boutique automaker, Rimac.
The question remains: what will WayRay do with their massive investment? According to them, they’ll be using the funds to scale their operation from a simple startup to a full-fledged enterprise-level business. Not only will they develop an advanced prototype (gearing up for mass production) in Germany, but they reportedly have plans to integrate their technology into smart homes.
While some critics claim that adding augmented reality amounts to little more than a distraction, automakers tend to disagree. How this new technology will affect the accident rate of drivers around the world is indeterminable at this time, but given the financial commitment to startups like WayRay, it’s likely that the world will find out sooner rather than later.
What do you think about integrating augmented reality technology into cars? Let us know in a comment!