Castrol is doing a surprising amount of work blending the real world and virtual reality. (Although, any amount of effort in this field from a motor oil company would be surprising.) Earlier this year, it turned a racing car into what was essentially a very expensive VR controller, mapping the vehicle's movement onto a virtual car and outfitting the driver with a VR headset. The driving is happening in real life, but the driver is navigating a virtual racetrack full of boulders and spikes. Now, Castrol has repeated this experiment with a pair of drivers (one of whom used to be The Stig), putting them to work on separate but identical tracks, while their cars compete head to head in the same virtual world.
It's a promotional stunt, but an interesting technical exercise
The experience is captured in the incredibly overwrought video above (do you really need an action movie soundtrack for this?), and while it's obviously a promotion for Castrol, it's an interesting technical exercise for VR. How can you mash together two separate IRL experiences into the same VR world? What are the benefits, if any, of blinding yourself to the real world to experience a virtual environment? These are questions that will become more important as VR does (see also the short film Uncanny Valley from earlier this week), but in the meantime, we can at least enjoy watching race car drivers tear it up in a weirdly low-poly virtual world.