While many rumored partnerships between tech companies and car manufacturers have been reported, Microsoft has officially announced a partnership with car manufacturer Volvo. Microsoft also plans to implement their HoloLens technology into the experience. According to TIME, HoloLens integration could allow car salesmen to take their craft outside of the dealership and onto the road (in a literal sense), giving customers the option of a three-dimensional configuration for their vehicle.
The new wearable device, which has been named the top gadget of 2015 by TIME despite not having a release date, could have a big impact in a customer experience scenario. “HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want—to explore the colors, rims, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available,” said Björn Annwall, senior vice president of marketing, sales and service at Volvo, in a press release.
Microsoft has also touted its HoloLens as a way for customers to take a look at the inside of a car and fully customize it, putting the customer inside the manufacturing room and giving them more options as they consider buying a new car. “Imagine enhancing your car buying experience at the dealership by viewing the complete inside of the vehicle you are interested in. With the power of holograms, we have the ability to open the car up completely, take a closer look at the engine, inspect the chassis or watch the drivetrain and transmission in action,” said Scott Erickson, senior director of Microsoft HoloLens in a blog post.
The HoloLens demonstration included the S90 premium sedan, which will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in January 2016. Volvo has plans to release 100 self-driving cars in Sweden by 2017. The partnership could force other automakers tech companies to partner up and create competition in the market.
“We are thrilled to be working with Volvo Cars to re-imagine what is possible in car design, discovery and purchasing,” Erickson said. Despite the increasing reliance on technology in cars, Erickson also stated that the user experience is still central to the process. “We are excited to be at this intersection of technology and human-centric design with Volvo.” With this partnership, the line between tech companies and car companies could significantly converge.