HOW VR AND AR ARE CHANGING THE CAR-BUYING EXPERIENCE
The car-buying experience is almost universally loathed. In-person negotiations are a hassle, and spending the day going from dealership to dealership to test drive cars is an experience that most consumers want to avoid at all costs. Those hassles are one of the reasons why it takes consumers an average of six months of research before settling on which car to buy. In a survey conducted by AutoTrader, just 17 out of the 4,002 consumers polled said they were satisfied with the current car-buying process. Dealers aren’t happy with the situation, either. Getting people into auto dealerships is becoming increasingly difficult, and millennial customers, in particular, are resisting taking part in traditional dealer/customer negotiations. Although research shows that baby boomers prefer to touch and feel vehicles, and they will go to multiple dealerships to look at cars, that’s not necessarily the case with younger buyers. Millennial shoppers are doing most of their car buying research online, using popular platforms like Google and YouTube. The problem is that new cars are incredibly expensive, and most people don’t feel comfortable picking a vehicle based exclusively on two-dimensional images and whatever data they can pull up on the Kelley Blue Book website. Consumers don’t want to go into dealerships, either, so they end up delaying their purchases for as long as possible. RelayCars thinks it has a solution. The company has put together a program that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help consumers research new cars and trucks. Getting a realistic view of a vehicle from their own homes helps users narrow down their selections and decreases the time shoppers need to spend test driving multiple cars. RelayCars’ app is powered by EVOX Images. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because EVOX Images isn’t a newcomer in the automotive space. The company has been working in automotive photography, by capturing HD car images for commercial use, for two decades. Its images are used on more than 20,000 dealership websites, which means most people who’ve shopped for a car have seen an image from EVOX. Using EVOX’s VR automotive asset library, RelayCars gives its users a way to place themselves into the driver’s seat of almost any vehicle. The company’s app is platform agnostic, and consumers who don’t have VR headsets can still get the full experience by downloading the app on iOS or Android. Although RelayCars is now used primarily by consumers, Chief Operating Officer Gina Callari says the app was originally designed for EVOX’s enterprise customers. “Once we put RelayCars on the app store for general consumers, we pulled in over 1.2 million downloads,” says Callari. Part of the magic behind RelayCars is its standardization of imagery. The company has a 40,000 square foot space where it shoots its vehicle, all with the same consistent lighting and angles. This means consumers are really able to understand and compare different cars. Although RelayCars is available in both VR and AR, Callari says there has been slower mainstream adoption for headsets, outside of the gaming industry, and because of that, growth has been slower for in app’s VR version. Callari says RelayCars is currently the only automotive app developed for Magic Leap, and the company is continuing to develop for headsets to stay ahead of the curve. On the dealer side, the biggest barrier to adoption for RelayCars has been a lack of actual inventory on dealer lots. A consumer might look through a headset and see different vehicle options and colors than what the local dealership has available to buy that day, and that can sometimes be a problem. In order for RelayCars to continue to expand and grow, the company will need to form more partnerships within the automotive industry. EVOX already provides images to more than 20,000 dealerships, and the company works closely with manufacturers like Kia and Subaru, but Callari says even more partnerships are in the works. “The entire car shopping experience is changing and is already much different than even five years ago … By 2020, millennials will be the largest car buyer demographic, which is why it’s so important that dealers understand their shopping and buying habits,” she says. “Our goal as a company is for RelayCars to become an integral step in the car research process. When someone is looking for a vehicle, and thinking of ways to research that vehicle, we hope they’ll go to sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com for data and editorial, to YouTube for videos, and to RelayCars for the VR/AR visual aspects.” Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight. SOURCE: https://streetfightmag.com/2019/08/30/how-vr-and-ar-are-changing-the-car-buying-experience/
RELAYCARS ROLLS OUT NEW AUGMENTED REALITY VEHICLES AND APP UPGRADES FOR IMPROVED CAR RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
Press Release – JMPR The app’s update offers all-new vehicle models, as well as user experience and performance enhancements for car shoppers.RelayCars powered by EVOX Images, the virtual and augmented reality (AR) experience that helps users research and find their next car, today announced a series of app updates providing a more comprehensive and improved vehicle research experience with AR technology. According to a recent Forbes report, AR is expected to acquire 1 billion users by 2020. While this technology becomes increasingly accessible and incorporated into retail experiences, the RelayCars AR™ app will continue to provide both consumers and dealers with a way to view and present desired vehicles in a variety of real-life settings. RelayCars’ new, upgraded AR features include: ● A launch of 20 new vehicles including trucks, SUVs, and sedans from brands like Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Ford, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, and many more. Dozens of new vehicles will continue to roll out this year as the RelayCars AR experience grows. ● User interface (UI) redesign for increased functionality and ease of use. ○ Allows users to be notified when the car scales to 100%. ○ Car scaling creates size-accurate representations and comparisons of the vehicles, whether it be side-by-side to another AR vehicle or placed next to a vehicle in a real-life setting. ● New button to enter vehicle for quicker access and better views of vehicle’s interior. ● New share option allows users to easily share vehicles via their social media platforms or by email. “Every RelayCars app update we present is developed with the car shopper and their experience in mind,” said Gina Callari, COO of EVOX Images. “As the use of AR continues to grow, our newest upgrade is intended to present a more seamless way for users to find their future car through realistic technology.” RelayCars AR is available now via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. In addition to AR, the RelayCars virtual reality application has more than 1.2 million downloads to-date and is available for free on iOS, Android, Oculus Go, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, and Microsoft MR.
IT REALLY FEELS LIKE YOU’RE IN A TESLA WITH NEW OCULUS QUEST VR HEADSET
BY SASHA LEKACH – 05/01/19 With Tesla test drives scaled back, your options to check out a Model 3 or Model S sedan are limited enough that you may need to turn to virtual reality to see the car before you buy it. Oculus’s new VR headset could become the next best way to check out cars without going to a dealership or car lot — or in Tesla’s case, without buying the car sight unseen. The Oculus Quest was officially announced this week at Facebook’s F8 conference and when it arrives on May 21 for $399 most of the attention will be on how it performs for gaming apps. For the non-gamers out there, however, the headset can give you a glimpse at what thousands of cars look like. It’s one of the many non-gaming uses for VR that’s getting a boost with the new device. RelayCars has a vast library of car imagery that lets you take a look at each one from all angles and while sitting in the driver seat. With images of 13,000 vehicles and counting, you can take a peek at the Tesla Model 3, a Mini Cooper, or even a Prius. During a demo, COO Gina Callari compared the app to a “virtual auto show” where you can hop from car to car, getting a feel for the vehicle without driving it. The library is stocked with luxury vehicles, big trucks, and everyday options like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. It’s available for free on Oculus Go, Samsung’s Gear VR, HTC Vive, and other VR platforms (there’s also a mobile and tablet app with 360-degree images available for perusing for the VR-disinclined among us), but with the new Quest, the viewing experience will greatly improve. Currently you can explore the front seat of a Tesla, or any of the available cars, from a fixed point of view in VR. You can look all over, but you can’t see what the car is like from the back seat or from other positions. With the Quest the RelayCars VR app will give what’s known as 6DOF, or six degrees of freedom, instead of the usual 3DOF: pitch, roll, and yaw. The additional three are forward/backward, left/right, and up/down. This means you can move around the space, kneel down, get closer to the steering wheel, check out a decal on the trunk — much like you’d do when walking around a real car. It gets you that much closer to a realistic experience. So instead of trudging to a litany of different dealerships when looking for a new car, you can browse through various options the same way you shop for everything else: online. SOURCE: https://mashable.com/article/oculus-quest-vr-cars-relaycars-app/
DRIVING THE FUTURE OF AUTOMOTIVE RESEARCH AND SHOPPING
By Gina Callari – 05/23/19 Today’s fragmented and increasingly digital landscape presents greater challenges for dealerships to meet the needs of car shoppers. According to a 2016 AutoTrader study, only 17 out of 4,002 surveyed customers were satisfied with the current car-buying process. Just a few years ago, shoppers could visit up to five dealerships before deciding on a car, now they’re visiting just one. Today, people demand to be as informed as possible before stepping foot on the dealer lot. However, dealers can draw more of these consumers to their dealership by supplementing the research process with more immersive and interactive experiences that increase shopper engagement. With this idea, augmented reality and virtual reality are positioned to be key factors driving the future of automotive research and shopping. For those not as familiar with these terms, augmented reality refers to an enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images in a real-world environment, while virtual reality is a realistic and immersive simulation of a 3D environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by body movement. Research shows that 80% of car shopping interactions prior to visiting the dealership are now digital. YouTube and Google are providing much of that research content and augmented and virtual reality applications can bridge the gap between online research and visiting the dealership. Millions of people are using mobile AR technology every day with applications like Snapchat and games such as Pokemon Go. Consumer-friendly glasses are rumored to be shipping in late 2019 or early 2020 from Apple, Facebook, Samsung, Google and others. Cell phones and tablets support these experiences for the time being until those headsets or AR glasses do come to market. The benefits of augmented reality is that it allows shoppers to bring the vehicle off of a flat 2D screen and into their space to view color changes, trim levels and hundreds of cars, all from the comfort of home. Virtual reality transports the user to a virtual dealership where they can experience many of the same benefits. In addition to the home, this technology is useful for portable dealerships or pop-up stores in larger locations, such as shopping malls. Through this technology, the research experience becomes immersive and consumers can customize a potential car within moments. On-site, the dealer may compare vehicles side-by-side and show models that they don’t have on the lot currently. When browsing without a guide, the consumer is able take their time and pace their research. The time is now for dealerships to become mindful of this changing landscape and find ways to utilize technology to help aid in the car selling process. Virtual and augmented reality platforms leverage the next wave of computing to drive engagement, win customers’ interest and improve sales. SOURCE: https://www.autosuccessonline.com/driving-the-future-of-automotive-research-and-shopping/
NEW RELAYCARS IN ROOM-SCALE ALLOWS CAR BUYERS, DEALERS TO EXPERIENCE HYPER-REALISTIC VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM
By Auto Success Staff Writers – 03/08/19 RelayCars, the virtual reality automotive experience that puts consumers in the driver’s seat of thousands of vehicles, has announced the expansion of their VR suite of applications with the launch of the new RelayCars, now in room-scale. Room-scale allows users to move freely and naturally around the virtual showroom while customizing car options and researching their next car. Furthering the future of vehicle research and shopping, this technology gives consumers a more efficient way to shop for cars that may not physically be on the dealer lot or even browse from the comfort of their homes. Dealers will now have the ability to instantaneously showcase a wider range of vehicles and help consumers to make informed purchasing decisions through the realistic environment. RelayCars in room-scale is available via digital distribution platform, Steam. While wearing a headset, car shoppers and dealers are able to select vehicles from the expanding model selection and place them in one of three designated spaces on the showroom floor. Users can interact with the environment and the showcased vehicle models to view them from any angle, change the vehicle color, enter the interior, step back to check out the vehicle in full, or walk right up to the vehicle for a more in depth look at the design and detail. “This is the first time we are offering our users the opportunity to walk around their customized virtual showroom to observe, compare and interact with the vehicles on another level,” Gina Callari, RelayCars COO, said. “The technologies enabling virtual reality are evolving at such a pace that being able to provide more interactive and realistic experiences for our customers is of the utmost importance to us at RelayCars.” RelayCars in room-scale is available on Steam-supported VR headsets including Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Link: RelayCars SOURCE: https://www.autosuccessonline.com/relaycars-roomscale-virtual-reality-showroom/
RELAYCARS LAUNCHES AUGMENTED REALITY APPLICATION TO FURTHER ENHANCE CAR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE FOR DEALERS AND CUSTOMERS
Press Release – JMPR RelayCars, the virtual reality automotive experience that puts consumers in the driver’s seat of thousands of vehicles, today announced the launch of RelayCars Augmented Reality Preview (RelayCars AR Preview), an application that allows car shoppers to experience product accurate vehicle models in full, world scale space through augmented reality technology. The application will be available for free this week on iOS and Android. “We are excited to delve further into the XR space with RelayCars AR Preview and offer car shoppers more customized experiences as the technologies become available to us,” said David Falstrup, RelayCars CEO. “We know that this is the direction the industry is going and we hope to be able to create more emotional experiences for car buyers by allowing them to experience their potential vehicles in new dimensions and in their day-to-day lives.” Users are able to select, change and view a selection of vehicles in an assortment of colors from the RelayCars library of OEM product correct paint colors and place the AR vehicle in real life settings, from a garage to a driveway, or even a dealership. Using a single finger, users can slide the vehicle to the position of their choice. Users can also pinch to scale up to full size and see design highlights, wheels, brakes, tires and lighting, or simply pinch down to a table-top size. Using a thumb and forefinger, vehicles can rotate a complete 360º and users are able to view the car from any angle or distance desired. Both consumers and dealers are able to view the RelayCars library of AR vehicles side by side real vehicles allowing users to compare and contrast car details and step inside to view the interior for an even more personalized and immersive car buying experience. The company also offers the RelayCars suite of applications which is available to download for free on iOS, Android, Oculus Go, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft VR and Magic Leap. Dealers interested in working with RelayCars Pro may apply to try the VR sales platform for free by registering here.
JUMP IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT AS AUTOMOTIVE EXPERIENCE RELAYCARS SLIDES ONTO MAGIC LEAP
By Peter Graham Last updated Nov 27, 2018 Magic Leap One may still be in its infancy but that’s not stopping developers from making new, or bringing pre-existing content to the fledgeling head-mounted display (HMD). The latest to announce support is RelayCars LLC, the creator of virtual reality (VR) app RelayCars, working the application into an augmented reality (AR) experience. The RelayCars app originally launched in 2015 for Samsung Gear VR, with the studio expanding support to Oculus Go and Google Daydream, whilst upping the content with new versions – the latest is RelayCars 8. For the Magic Leap One edition RelayCars partnered with Kia Motors America with a customised Kia Stinger GT available for consumers to experience. The app will allow users to not only customise their own virtual Kia Stinger GT, but also take the Stinger out for a virtual drive. “Stinger is like nothing anyone has ever seen from Kia and RelayCars for Magic Leap allows us to bring this award-winning sports sedan to everyone, so they can experience the vehicle when and where they want on the social platforms they use most,” said Kimberley Gardiner, director, marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “Stinger is a testament to what Kia can – and has – achieved and this innovative way to interact with and experience Stinger allows consumers to take their time getting to know both Stinger and the Kia brand.” Besides the Stinger, RelayCars has thousands of vehicles to explore, with the option to admire the vehicles inside and out in full 360° stereoscopic 3D. The detailed showroom experiences feature vehicles ranging from exotics to hybrids, to sedans and full-size trucks. “We are proud to be the first automotive application available specifically for the Magic Leap One,” said David Falstrup, RelayCars CEO in a statement. “It is an exciting time to be in the industry and be able to provide new and improved product offerings on a regular basis. We hope that the integration of the Kia Stinger GT into the RelayCars for Magic Leap will ultimately lead our team to create more immersive experiences that will allow customers to experience the car in its entirety, up to the power and drive of it.” RelayCars is available now for free download via Magic Leap World. The Magic Leap One Creator Edition can only be purchased by developers currently with a retail price starting from $2,295 USD. For further content updates for the headset, keep reading VRFocus. SOURCE: https://magic-leap.reality.news/news/magic-leap-roars-into-auto-world-via-kia-stinger-app-from-relaycars-0190553/
RELAYCARS AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATION FOR MAGIC LEAP ONE NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
Press Release – JMPR The new AR application allows drivers to take a 2019 Kia Stinger GT out for a spin. Today, RelayCars, the virtual reality automotive experience that puts consumers in the driver’s seat of thousands of vehicles, announced that its application developed for the Magic Leap One headset is now available for free download via Magic Leap World with a customized Kia Stinger GT available for consumers to experience. RelayCars has partnered with Kia Motors America for the RelayCars for Magic Leap release to be the official Beta partner. The application features the award-winning 2019 Stinger GT, winner of the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Award, among others, and will allow users to not only customize their own virtual Kia Stinger GT, but also take Stinger out for a virtual drive and experience the vehicle via the augmented reality app. Recent statistics show that Augmented Reality is expected to have 1 billion users by 2020, with worldwide shipments of Augmented Reality headsets to reach around 5.4 million units by the same year which will drastically shift consumer purchasing behaviors. As the market shifts, the RelayCars application for Magic Leap One is already offering users an immersive experience for cay buying through its interactive capabilities. Users will be able to place virtual cars in the room with them, walk around the vehicle, change the color and watch these vehicles drive around the room; all functions that will continue to aid car buying. “We are proud to be the first automotive application available specifically for the Magic Leap One,” said David Falstrup, RelayCars CEO. “It is an exciting time to be in the industry and be able to provide new and improved product offerings on a regular basis. We hope that the integration of the Kia Stinger GT into the RelayCars for Magic Leap will ultimately lead our team to create more immersive experiences that will allow customers to experience the car in its entirety, up to the power and drive of it.” Outside of Magic Leap, the RelayCars app has more than a million downloads to date and is available for free on iOS, Android, Oculus Go, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and Microsoft MR. The company also has a B2B suite of applications, known as RelayCars Pro™, which includes a host of features to aid in dealers and OEM product managers with the selling process, product design, training and more. All RelayCars’ apps allow customers to explore the interior and exterior of thousands of different vehicles including exotics, hybrids, full-size trucks as well as popular sedans and SUVs. Vehicle interiors and exteriors can be seen in full stereoscopic 360°. “Stinger is like nothing anyone has ever seen from Kia and RelayCars for Magic Leap allows us to bring this award-winning sports sedan to everyone, so they can experience the vehicle when and where they want on the social platforms they use most,” said Kimberley Gardiner, director, marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “Stinger is a testament to what Kia can – and has – achieved and this innovative way to interact with and experience Stinger allows consumers to take their time getting to know both Stinger and the Kia brand.”
FASTER FORWARD EPISODE 7: SKIP THE DEALERSHIP WITH VIRTUAL REALITY
By TU-Automotive – 11/14/18 RelayCars, a subsidiary of EVOX Images, is using the latest in 3D imaging to develop augmented and virtual reality experiences for car shoppers and OEMs. That means you could purchase your next car from the comfort of your own living room. SOURCE: https://www.tu-auto.com/video/faster-forward-episode-7-skip-the-dealership-with-virtual-reality/
VIRTUAL REALITY APP RELAYCARS RELEASES VERSION 8, INTRODUCING NEW RELAYCARS GARAGE™ FEATURE
Press Release – JMPR Curate and compare a selection of vehicles to further enhance the car buying experience. Today, RelayCars, the virtual reality automotive research experience that puts consumers in the driver’s seat of thousands of vehicles, announced the launch of RelayCars 8. RelayCars 8, features the new RelayCars Garage, an immersive showroom which allows car shoppers and car dealers to select, save and compare a personally curated selection of vehicles. “With the incorporation of RelayCars Garage, we aim to further enhance the car buying experience by allowing customers to compare their car selection side-by-side and make better informed purchase decisions,” said David Falstrup, RelayCars CEO. “This newest addition to our app is bringing us one step closer to providing users the ability to complete their entire market research virtually, before ever entering a dealership.” The newly added ‘Saved Search’ allows users to find the vehicles they are looking for quickly and easily, backed by significant enhancements to app performance and stability. The new RelayCars Garage update will run alongside all of the great features that RelayCars users have come to know. The RelayCars VR library includes top-of-the-line technology and almost every car and truck on the market since 2015, including exotics, sedans, full-size trucks, hybrids and more. Users have the most up-to-date views of the latest cars in a realistic environment. Models can be viewed by interiors and exteriors and in full 360° stereo. RelayCars is also able to aid dealers and OEM product managers with the selling process, product design, training and more. The application is available for free now on iOS, Android, Oculus Go, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft VR and soon-to-be Magic Leap.