Audi's first Virtual Reality showroom in Centurion, Pretoria, is now operational. Picture: SUPPLIED
Audi's first Virtual Reality showroom in Centurion, Pretoria, is now operational. Picture: SUPPLIED

Audi clients can now spec their new cars in virtual reality lounges

In what is claimed to be a first for the South African motor industry, Audi has launched a virtual reality-enabled Audi Customer Private Lounge (CPL) at Audi Centre Centurion in Gauteng.

With the VR solution, customers can get an extremely realistic experience of their individually configured car, down to the last detail. The Audi CPL allows for a one-to-one engagement between a customer and a sales consultant in a digital, premium and intimate environment.

Once in the CPL, digital technology like the VR headset and 190cm screen allows Audi sales consultants to present the entire Audi model range, including all equipment options, colour combinations, packages and specifications during the customer sales dialogue.

The VR application allows users to become completely immersed in the car virtually without having to see the physical vehicle on the dealership floor. The configured Audi is experienced in three dimensions and 360 degrees, with all light and sound effects.


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Various environments, times of day, and light conditions also contribute to the true-to-life virtual experience of sitting in the car. The interior can also be observed from every perspective, down to the surface of the decorative inlays, depending on the position relative to the virtual light source.

“Digitalisation is key part of Audi’s global corporate strategy, and the CPL is a great example of this,” said Trevor Hill, Head of Audi South Africa. “It’s a great opportunity to introduce this form of innovation and technology within the South African automotive industry and to have progressive Dealer partners such as Audi Centre Centurion, who have presented a truly premium retail experience for Audi customers.”

Audi expects to roll out the CPL concept to more dealerships around SA within the coming years. The full, VR-enabled, Vorsprung experience is now available to Audi enthusiasts and customers at the newly revamped Audi Centre Centurion but more than 400 Audi Customer Private Lounges or digitalized consulting suites are already in use in Audi dealerships around the world.

Added solar cells may offer simpler solution to extend electric drive range in EVs. Picture: SUPPLIED
Added solar cells may offer simpler solution to extend electric drive range in EVs. Picture: SUPPLIED

Toyota experiments with range-extending solar panels

Whereas the production model of Toyota’s Prius hybrid uses a compact solar panel to charge the battery while parked, feeding converted sun power into the car's onboard ancillary systems like the navigation systems, a new demo version that can charge the car while it is being driven has been shown. 

The experimental Prius is fitted with a fresh rooftop solar kit that’s developed by Sharp. It is claimed to extend the car’s driving range by 44.5km of battery-only range per day.

Toyota is set to start testing the new car this month on public roads in Japan, and will use the trials to gather data on the cruising range and fuel efficiency. It is collaborating with Sharp and Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation on the venture, with an eye to developing more advanced onboard solar recharging capabilities for its production vehicles.

Unlikely pairing: BMW and Mercedes-Benz will put aside their rivalry and join forces to develop new tech. Picture: SUPPLIED
Unlikely pairing: BMW and Mercedes-Benz will put aside their rivalry and join forces to develop new tech. Picture: SUPPLIED

BMW and Daimler to share automated driving tech by 2024

BMW and Daimler will team up to grow automated driving technology, the companies hava announced.

Dwindling profit margins are forcing previously unlikely pairings as auto makers pool their development resources. This strategic partnership will focus on developing technologies for assisted, automated driving on highways and automated parking, the two companies adding that they will implement the technologies in their cars independently.

The two carmakers first announced their plans to join forces on automated driving technology in February 2019, saying they were discussing the possibility of extending their partnership.

The deal is now finalised and they expect the technology to be deployed in mass-market vehicles from 2024. The two companies also said their cooperation was nonexclusive, with results being made available to other licensed original equipment manufacturers.