By: Pooja Bais, RIG Intern Researcher


Do you get recommendations once you do a Google Search to buy something and there are ads about the same on the apps you use like Instagram or YouTube? AI is working in the background to collect your data to analyze and give a customized suggestion based on your likes and dislikes.

Ever played a PlayStation wearing glasses or headsets? In virtual reality, users wear headsets, and you are part of a completely different world. Not just limited to games, nowadays virtual reality is used for training, learning, and mental illness treatment.

These are very common examples of VR and AI and this blog is an overview of how these two trends are utilized in the automobile industry.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) are machines acting and thinking like humans. AI is an intelligent way of processing done by computers similar to the way humans think and make decisions. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence[3]. Some examples of AI are Siri, Alexa or other smart assistant devices, self-driving cars, Netflix recommendations, robots, etc.

Virtual reality(VR) is a combination of virtual and real world. This is nothing but a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel as if they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet. VR allows us to immerse ourselves in video games as if we were one of the characters, learn how to perform heart surgery or improve the quality of sports training to maximize performance[4].

Nowadays, AI is used by the automobile industry for manufacturing and autonomous cars. Similarly, VR is used for virtual test drives and virtual showrooms. AI and VR are currently making a huge impact on the automobile industry. VR can be used for customers to experience how the car will run on different roads and climates before buying. For example, Infinity has come up with interactive 360 videos to provide a completely realistic experience to the customers[1]. With interactive 360 videos, customers can experience, as well as analyze, the exact characteristics of the vehicles by pushing the limits. Another car company, Audi, has started virtual reality showrooms with the Audi AR experience and will soon start pre-recorded virtual test rides to experience the drive[5].

Dr. Oliver Pink, senior expert for vehicle architecture automated driving, says that “Artificial intelligence(AI) is the key to automated driving. Equipping cars with it is a bit like teaching students”[6]. He also, says that cars will soon autonomously understand its surrounding and react accordingly. In the future, AI empowered cars will help in suggesting driving modes such as sport, eco, power and snow based on the features in the car, roads, and climate. It can also make decisions to avoid accidents based on collected data.  According to the studies, in Germany 90% of all accidents resulting in injury are the result of human error. Automation could be the answer to this, says Dr. Oliver Pink[6].

Hence, AI plays an important role by collecting data about surroundings, and road conditions, while analyzing them to create situations, such as a person walking at a certain distance to predict how to react to that situation. This can be tested in VR before embedding it into a vehicle’s software system. This will help the companies to test different situations such as accidents and check how cars react to it. This will be a key feature of self-driving or autonomous cars in the future.

Some people think, AI and VR are the same but in fact, they are completely different. AI and VR when used effectively proves to be profitable. As Meta’s(earlier known as Facebook), sci-fi haptic glove prototype lets you feel VR objects using air pockets[9]. Not just the tech industry but automobile companies like Toyota, Bosch, Volvo, Lucid, and Tesla are adopting AI and VR. These technologies have been proven to be very beneficial for the companies and they continue to use and improve it by performing trial and error methods. Therefore, as these technologies come together, it will make a significant impact in the automobile industry as it helps to ensure the safety of the customers, enhance the quality of the cars, boost the demand for self-driving cars and increase the customer trust in the vehicle and its systems. AI and VR are the new trends emerging in the automotive industry, and they have rapidly growing potential for the future.