WayRay, a technology company from Switzerland, has unveiled a spectacular study called Hologractor. The e-car, intended as a ride-hailing vehicle, features a new head-up display technology that overlays virtual content with reality - from the navigation arrow to the anime character.
Many car owners are already very familiar with the projection of speed displays, speed limits and the like into the driver's field of vision. After all, head-up displays that throw 3D displays onto a small folding screen or directly onto the windscreen are nothing new. Rather, the integration of augmented reality, such as flashing navigation arrows at the turn, for example, which VW's displays now dominate. But the hologractor - developed by the Swiss-based deep-tech company WayRay, which works on augmented reality technologies, is said to be able to do much more. The fact that the big players in the automotive industry are also very interested in this is shown by the fact that manufacturers such as Hyundai and Porsche have already given the company strong financial injections . With the Holograktor, WayRay now wants to get rid of the image of a pure supplier and to position itself as a technology leader in the field of head-up displays and Co. - especially in the automotive sector.
On the Uber throne of the future
With the futuristic electric car - it should drive either conventionally or remotely via a 5G satellite connection - WayRay also gives a glimpse of the potential ride-hailing future: According to the company's data analyses, more than 80 percent of Uber rides are booked by individuals. That's why the hologractor chauffeurs its rear passenger on a single "throne" and dispenses with additional seats in the back. WayRay deliberately leaves a large distance between the two front seats so that the rear passenger has a clear view through the windshield. Accordingly, the company is focusing on the said holographic infotainment, which is enjoyed not only by the two front occupants, but also by the rear passenger. Directly in front of him, a transparent projection surface folds down, which, according to WayRay founder and managing director Vitaly Ponomarev, is intended to display sponsored content, among other things. Advertising could then financially subsidize Uber trips for cheaper.
Gaming-ready 3D world
Also included: the gaming aspect. The car has joysticks that WayRay places on the left and right of the seats. They enable both the control of the augmented reality content and interaction with it. Both the front and rear occupants can use these controllers to steer the car virtually or play augmented reality games while driving. WayRay designs the entire glazing for augmented reality.The holocactor displays 3D objects all around and at any distance on the deep reality displays in the panes. Parking space availability and costs, navigation elements, even personal information about passers-by are conceivable, as the video above shows.
Less space, more screen area
In order to realize the virtual reality experience, the company patented a special coated photopolymer film. The Leverkusen-based pane supplier Covestro is responsible for their manufacture. A laser generates the holographic images – according to the information provided by the software: a high-performance computer is therefore located under the dashboard. It constantly determines the position of the vehicle using the data recorded by sensors and cameras. This enables virtual overlays in real time. According to WayRay, the necessary hardware in the hologractor requires significantly less space than previously known head-up displays, whose projection surfaces are also significantly smaller. While the latter take up around 20 liters of space, the system in the hologractor requires just three liters. By the way: The steering wheel, which can be deactivated, also fits into the dashboard and automatically slides into it on command.
Russian design language
The exterior of the compact hatchback fits the futuristic interior, and none other than the Russian hypercar designer Sasha Selipanov helped shape it. He has already worked for Lamborghini, Bugatti, Genesis and Koenigsegg, among others, and has now designed the hologractor in collaboration with the technology company. The triangular body elements are a nod to the Russian heritage of WayRay founder Ponomarev and designer Selipanov. The two follow a very specific architectural and artistic style: "We immediately focused on the formal language of Russian Constructivism. If you look at these early Soviet posters, you see these colorful geometric shapes of triangles and blocks," explains Designer Selipanov.
Roof box as a distinguishing feature
And the two Russians are serious about the prisms. The body of the Hologractor with triangular shapes catches the eye at every turn, including the 22-inch wheels and the laser headlights and taillights. What particularly stands out: the hump on the roof, which WayRay calls "shrimp". The box houses the holographic system for the rear passenger. While the hardware for the projections on the windscreen is housed in the dashboard, the design team was forced to place the rest of the technology on the roof for reasons of space and ergonomics. "It's a unique selling proposition, and I think it makes sense to celebrate things that are unusual," Selipanov justifies the uniqueness.
The door concept of the Holograktor is also special.When opening, the front doors slide upwards like gullwing doors. The rear doors contain an integrated B-pillar and open backwards at the top. This makes it easier for the passenger, who sits enthroned in the rear compartment, to get in.
Drive and technical data
The concept car is around 4,415 millimeters long, 2,129 millimeters wide including the reversing cameras in the exterior mirrors and 1,582 millimeters high including the roof box. WayRay relies on battery-electric drive in the hologractor and promises a range of 600 kilometers. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes 3.9 seconds, and the company specifies a top speed of 200 km/h.
Anyone who thinks that the hologractor sounds like unrealistic dreams of the future is wrong. At least if you believe Ponomarev. While it depends on market perception, his goal is to have this car on the market and homologated in four years. "But it could also be that we only use it as a white label concept to help other car manufacturers to build such cars with our True AR (Augmented Reality) technology," continues the WayRay founder.
Even if the Hologractor's virtual reality concept looks like a distant future: The technology behind it could also be helpful for cars with human (self-)drivers. For example, imagine the head-up display providing an image of the view ahead without the view-obstructing parts such as the engine and A-pillars, or showing hidden traffic lights behind the sun visor. In any case, the look of the WayRay study is convincing. Despite the somewhat unfortunate roof box, you can tell that this is not the first time someone has dealt with automotive design.