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XRDC speaker Q&A: Chris O'Connor and using VR in the auto biz

While much has been made about VR's potential for video games and the healthcare business, it's the automotive industry that has been quietly investing large amounts of time and effort into virtual reality, something several speakers will be discussing at this year's XRDC.

One of those speakers, Chris O'Connor, will be giving a talk about his work at ZeroLight, a company dedicated to recreating different vehicles in virtual reality. To learn more about O'Connor's work, and what he'll be discussing at XRDC, we reached out to him for a quick chat that you can now read below.

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about immersive games & entertainment, brand experiences, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.

I worked as a graphics programmer in the games industry for 8 years, specializing in racing games for a whole range a platforms.

ZeroLight was created 4 years ago, utilizing our expertise in real-time rendering to disrupt the world of automotive visualization. We developed an omnichannel platform and using XR is a natural way to enhance the sales experience, enabling the customer to see any vehicle and configuration in stunning detail on a 1:1 scale.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.

I will be talking about the challenges involved and the solutions developed when creating VR and AR projects for automotive brands such as BMW, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, Porsche and Pagani. We have to consider the OEM’s target market and understand that many potential customers may not have experienced real-time interactive CG before, never mind XR.

Because of this intuitive user experience, solid performance and high graphical quality are extremely important to ensure the highest possible level of realism and immersion. We have learnt a huge amount over the last 4 years and I will be sharing the highlights from many of these XR projects during this session.

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?

I love how fast XR hardware is developing with amazing new innovations every few months, this gives the team at ZeroLight new ways to improve immersion, quality and performance. We are now seeing the next generation of VR devices with wider field of views, higher pixel densities and varifocal lenses. GPUs and CPUs are becoming more powerful, pushing graphical quality to a new level. AR is also starting to meet the mass market with many great devices and use cases on the horizon.

Who would you like to meet at XRDC?

I’m really looking forward to meeting like minded developers across the wide range of industries that are innovating in the world of XR. It’s fascinating to hear about the latest projects incorporating cutting edge graphics and new XR hardware.

What kind of XR projects do you see gaining traction in the automotive business?

XR was used in the automotive industry prior to the availability of current generation XR devices. Automotive design teams would use the medium to aid in the design and review process. The sector is now going a step further with the digitization of entire car libraries for use in sales and marketing. XR is key, empowering customer to see and explore cars at scale as part of the purchase journey. This allows automotive manufacturers to promote new models, accessories and options without the need for a physical car.

XRDC is happening October 29th and 30th in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Now that registration is open, you’ll want to look over XRDC passes and prices and register early to get the best deal!

For more information about XRDC, which is produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference, check out the official XRDC website. You can also subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

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