“The future is now…” In today’s hyper-tech focused existence there is great truth to this claim, as even the frenzied world of car shopping gets on board. RelayCars, a virtual reality (VR) automotive shopping platform is spearheading a movement to alleviate shopper strain, and give car buyers the chance to inspect vehicles from the comfort of their couch.
Started back in 2015 as a series of R&D sessions, RelayCars has gotten to the point where it now requires a 40,000 square-foot studio space to operate, and to date has seen over 1.2 million downloads. Available for free on iOS, Android, Oculus, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, and Microsoft MR devices, RelayCars has been heralded as “the most expansive VR automotive asset library on the market.”
With the app installed and a VR headset on, shoppers can now stroll around almost any vehicle on the market today via a virtual showroom floor, then hop inside the cabin for a look at the interior. While swapping interior package options, changing paint colors, and opening things like the hood, trunk, and doors are still in the works, we have it on good authority that these interactive options will be made available soon.
RelayCars COO, Gina Callari, sat down with us for a phone interview to explain these limitations, and to discuss the future of online car buying. She says that by expanding the app’s CG library, RelayCars will soon give shoppers the ability to customize a vehicle to their liking and actually hear what it sounds like under throttle. Packing a database that houses thousands of vehicles in a series of virtual “rooms,” the app features a digital cross-shopping experience like no other.
Dealerships will likely benefit from this tech breakthrough as well thanks to RelayCars Pro, a dealer-focused application that can be used onsite to show shoppers vehicles what may not be on the lot. Callari says that this not only alleviates complications on the dealership’s end, but further aids OEM product managers with thing like employee training and tracking shopping trends.
Additionally, RelayCars still remains the first automotive platform to do things live on Magic Leap, a company that utilizes goggles to project 3D effects and renderings atop everyday items. This means shoppers can plop a virtual vehicle into their garage, just to see how it looks in that particular space. Recently launched via select AT&T stores, and exclusively tethered to Wi-Fi, this partnership shows just how determined RelayCars is to staying ahead of the curve.
So as VR headsets become more commonplace, and shopping options continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how many people jump on virtual car shopping, and how many stick with the traditional approach. Now if only they could offer us a way to virtually tinker with that supercharged Bronco we’ve been wanting to build…