In the age of digitalization, many everyday processes still seem old-fashioned and complicated – like buying a car, for example. Traditionally, we associate buying a car with multiple visits to the dealership, lengthy discussions with sales staff, and time-consuming test drives. But does it really have to stay that way? I see a future where buying a car is easier, more convenient, and more exciting, all digital and immersive with Artificial Reality.
Why is buying a car still so old-fashioned today?
Despite all the technological advances, it seems that buying a car is still anchored in the past. We can do almost everything online – from shopping to banking – but when it comes to buying a car, time seems to stand still. There are various reasons for this, ranging from traditions and legal requirements to a certain reluctance to embrace new technologies in the automotive industry.
Configure your car online
But imagine a future where you can configure your car from the comfort of your own home. With a digital platform, you can specify every detail of your future car – from the engine to the color and rims. You could design the interior of your car according to your own ideas, visualizing each option in real time. Imagine trying out the different types of leather and colors for the seats, or testing the different infotainment systems before you decide.
Immersive experiences with virtual and augmented reality
You could go even further by incorporating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into the process. Imagine being able to see your configured car in full size right in your garage thanks to AR glasses like the Apple Vision Pro. You could walk around the car, open the doors, look in the trunk, and even sit in the driver’s seat – all without leaving your garage or living room.
Through VR, you could even experience the driving experience of your future car before it physically exists, in which one experiences a 3D driving simulation like in a computer game.
An AI avatar assistant for all your questions
In addition to this interactive and immersive experience, an unobtrusive AI avatar assistant could be standing by to answer any questions you may have. Through the capabilities of conversational AI like ChatGPT, interaction becomes more human. You could learn all about the car’s various features, have different configurations suggested, or get help making a decision – all on demand, without the pressure of a human salesperson.
Book a test drive as needed
Of course, nothing replaces the feeling of actually sitting behind the wheel and testing the car on the road. But here, too, the process could be simplified. You could book a test drive directly online, at the time and place of your choice. Maybe the car will even drive itself to you when it is autonomous.
The technology to make all this possible already exists or is at least within reach. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes fully integrated into the car-buying process.
The future of car buying looks exciting – it’s digital, interactive and immersive. It allows us to configure and experience the car of our dreams without having to leave the house. It gives us control over the process and removes the “pressure” often associated with traditional car dealerships.
It’s a future I’m looking forward to, and I’m sure many of you are too. After all, buying a car is about more than just a means of transportation – it’s about expressing our personality and preferences. And what could be better than to fully control and personalize this expression?
Michael Neidhöfer, CEO ZREALITY GmbH
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