HoloLens not dead yet, as Microsoft partners with Volkswagen on “Moving Platform” mode

Arif Bacchus

Despite the drama that might be going on behind the scenes, the HoloLens is not dead just yet. Microsoft just detailed that it has partnered with Volkswagen on a “Moving Platform” mode for the headset.

This new mode for HoloLens 2 has the goal of training drivers to handle challenging road conditions with holograms that show up in the real world. It also can be used for things like mixed reality-based climate controls, or to help truck or bus drivers navigate through narrow streets. It even can help drivers and passengers or drivers identify points of interest when driving.

This project started between Volkswagen and Microsoft back in 2018, and it required developing an algorithm that models the discrepancies between HoloLens sensors. This is to allow HoloLens to continue tracking when used in a vehicle, without the holograms disappearing. Volkswagen worked with Marc Pollefeys, Microsoft’s director of science and an expert in 3D computer vision and machine learning on this.

“We had extensive discussions, They presented their use cases and what they were hoping to enable. They were eager to work with us to find a solution and be able to use HoloLens in those situations,” said Marc Pollefeys.

Volkswagen is no stranger to this kind of technology. It introduced an augmented reality head-up display in its ID. family of electric cars in 2020. It also embarked on a research project using self-piloted vehicles and augmented reality to teach driving on a racing circuit.

Moving platform on HoloLens 2 is already supported for use on large ships. Microsoft is planning to refine the technology for other modes of transit, like trains or elevators.