Audi Q5: Enter Sandbox - a real-time VR test drive
Wouldn't it be cool to test drive a car on tracks you designed yourself in a sandbox? Together with POL, a creative agency from Oslo, the Dutch creative production company MediaMonks developed an in-store installation that lets you do just that. Let’s take a look behind the scenes of this Dutch award-winning VR experience.
Audi’s objective was to demonstrate what the new Audi Q5 and its Quattro technology had to offer, in a fun and playful way. The initial brief from POL was to produce a 360° film and a TV commercial, with the purpose of reconnecting with the childhood memory of playing with cars in a sandbox.
MediaMonks had the idea to use the power of VR, turning a 400-kilo physical sandbox into a virtual playground, where users could test drive the new Audi Q5.
The end result is an amazing real-time VR experience, connecting the physical and virtual world: by first creating your own driving experience in the sandbox, then giving you the opportunity to enter the same world in VR.
One of the biggest challenges was to create a VR driving experience that felt as real as possible.
To achieve this, Enter Sandbox uses a Kinect camera and a HTC Vive Lighthouse tracking system to scan the physical sandbox in 3D, based on 200,000 measure points. To capture the sandbox at such detail, the sandbox is bombarded with bursts of infrared light that are captured by the Kinect camera, to measure the height differences relative to the camera. This height-depth-scan is then rendered into a 3D model of the sandbox, which users can explore in VR, sat in an Audi Q5.
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Completing the experience, is an Audi Q5 driving simulator, which includes a genuine Audi Q5 steering wheel and driver's seat. Users are treated to additional sounds and sensations, like real engine noise and feedback from the steering wheel, which help make the virtual test drive even more realistic.
Starting its life in Norwegian showrooms, Enter Sandbox has gone on to become a traveling installation across Europe and the US, and has been viewed more than 25 million times across social media. It also became one of the most awarded projects of last year, picking up: FWA of the Day, FWA of the Month, the Yellow D&AD Branded Content Pencil, 5 Cannes Lions, Ciclope Grand Prix, Gold at the CLIO awards, and 5 Eurobest awards, as well as many more.
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