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Acura puts influencers in the driver’s seat in an AR livestream race on Facebook


By Lisa Lacy | n/a

July 10, 2017 | 4 min read

To showcase its 2018 TLX A-Spec model with what it calls Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, Acura is hosting What A Race, an augmented reality (AR) driving experience with four influencers that it will livestream on Facebook today (July 10) at 5pm PT/8pm ET.

Acura is livestreaming an AR race.

Acura is livestreaming an AR race.

It will also be broadcast from Acura’s Twitter and YouTube pages, where the brand said it will remain following the competition. Participating influencers will also host the livestream on their own Facebook pages.

Drivers include: actor Zachary Levi; Sam Gorski, founder of video creation firm Corridor Digital; Dom Esposito, technology journalist and YouTube influencer; and Maude Garrett, TV and radio host and creator of the website Geek Bomb. Ryan Eversley, a race car driver for the RealTime Racing Acura team, and actor Bradley Hasemeyer will host.

From behind the wheel of the 2018 TLX A-Spec, drivers will compete for the fastest overall time during three-lap individual runs. Each lap will trigger a new AR course visible to the driver and the Facebook Live audience, with a unique set of visuals and obstacles that will highlight the Acura TLX A-Spec's handling.

Cameras mounted to the drivers' custom-built race helmets will bring viewers directly into the action and several additional cameras positioned throughout the racecourse will provide multiple perspectives of the race.

The helmets also have AR technology embedded in the visors, allowing a full-color HD 80-degree viewing experience. The foundation is a helmet for safety, but an HD screen with mirrored lens technology has been added for an expanded field of view, along with a gyroscope to monitor head location within the car. The helmets are connected to a computer in the rear seats that provide the high performance rendering capacity needed to keep the experience running smoothly and visually sharp at high speeds.

But the experience is also crowd-controlled as viewers will serve as a virtual pit crew. Prompts will encourage fans to use reaction emojis throughout the race, revealing shortcuts and clearing obstacles to influence the course's landscape and help the drivers succeed.

The expected race duration is about one hour.

Acura teamed up with interactive digital content creation firm Current Studios on the experience.

“The team patched into the TLX's ABS system to accurately track the vehicle's wheel speed and direction,” Acura said. “To further mitigate any potential technical snafus during the race, the team custom fabricated a device attached to the under carriage of the vehicle, allowing the location of the car in the AR world to be automatically reset remotely and quickly, as needed.”

The 2018 TLX A-Spec with SH-AWD performance luxury sedan has what Acura calls a sporty redesign coupled with new technology and premium features that “takes the new design in an even more emotional direction, further broadening the brand's appeal to younger buyers”.

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