Audi's VR Experience Invites You to Drive Cars in a Sandbox

Installation in Oslo Creates a Virtual World From Real Sand Tracks

Published On
Feb 22, 2017

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Audi is encouraging people to return to being a kid in a sandbox with a new virtual reality project promoting its Q5 model.

The Enter Sandbox experience, developed by agency Pol in Norway and production company MediaMonks, starts with the premise: wouldn't it be cool if you could drive a car in those road tracks you made in sandboxes as a kid?

The experience, currently running at Audi's flagship dealership in Oslo, but designed to be taken on tour, invites participants to enter a purpose-built sandpit and create a customised track. The sand is then carefully scanned by a depth-sensing camera, from which a virtual world is rendered. To be able to capture every bump and curve, the sand is bombarded with short bursts of infrared light with over 200,000 measure points captured by the infrared camera. This data is then used to create a 3D model that informs the virtual environment.

Having built the track, drivers then sit in a VR chair and don an Oculus Rift headset to enter the virtual world they just created. The experience is designed to simulate a real-life drive in an Audi Q5, from feedback in the steering wheel, to the actual sounds of an Audi Q5. To find out more about how it was done take a look at the Making Of video here.

"For many of us, playing with cars in the sandpit is a distant memory. Let's face it, the opportunity rarely presents itself once you pass a certain age," said Tommy Jensen, marketing manager of Audi Norway in a statement. "The Sandbox 2.0 is a state-of-the-art toy for kids and adults. It provides a platform to rekindle the joys of driving and demonstrate the assets of the Q5 and the quattro technology in a playful and accessible way."