Transfer your favorite roads to an app, and from there into a video game, to have fun running over them in the virtual world and in the most accurate and faithful way possible. This is the idea behind the partnership between the Stuttgart company and the Swiss start-up Way Ahead Technologies, which is ready to turn it into reality.
The project is called Virtual Roads, and aims to offer the opportunity to quickly and easily choose one’s favorite routes from real life and transfer them to a video game using only the smartphone and a special app.
Porsche started from the assumption that the development of a new video game can take months, if not years, especially those dedicated to the world of racing cars. Tracks for simulators, for example, need to be precisely scanned by experts using lasers before they can be digitized. Porsche, on the other hand, wants to speed up times by allowing drivers to record any route using a specific app on their smartphone. Just put your smartphone behind the windshield, start recording and all data can be automatically transferred to the virtual world thanks to software that converts the road and surrounding area recordings into a 3D environment.
How augmented reality software works
Specialized software uses technologies such as artificial intelligence to capture a road and its surroundings, from guardrails to trees. These elements are then reproduced as faithfully and quickly as possible in 3D using a very large graphic archive. The software developed by Way Ahead Technologies also ensures that other road users are not thrown into the virtual world without their knowledge, protecting privacy.
The file for each route generated using the new app is currently compatible with numerous racing games including ‘Assetto Corsa’, the Kunos Simulations videogame, which means that Porsche drivers and fans of the brand will be able to enjoy them all. The routes can be experienced several times on any simulator equipped with the appropriate equipment or via smartphone, and the further advantage is that even those closed to the public or open only on certain days can be experienced and shared with others.
The characteristics of the route are also conveyed in the most realistic way possible: a suitably equipped simulator simulates an uneven road surface through vibrations, while drivers who approach a curve too quickly will feel they are slipping off the road. It is also possible to test yourself with different cars and in different conditions.
“After several years of development work, our software is now so advanced that it can digitize routes for virtual roads up to eight kilometers long in under an hour, depending on the complexity of the route,” said Roger Rueegg of Way Ahead Technologies. – We are also examining other options and functions to be integrated into the app, perhaps using the data from the sensors that measure lateral acceleration and chassis control ».
“If you ask people what they think is the most beautiful road, everyone has their own very personal path in mind – said Robert Ader, Porsche chief marketing officer – The characteristics of the road and the environment are what make a path particularly attractive, regardless of whether it is a unique Alpine pass or a legendary coastal road. We want to allow these memories to be experienced with a much simpler digitization process, which allows anyone to virtually drive along their favorite route ».