Intel and Warner Bros. showcased one vision for the future of entertainment in self-driving vehicles in a tricked-out concept car it unveiled this morning at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The car transports guests on a virtual ride through Gotham City in a 2019 BMW X5 that’s retrofitted with a large-screen TV, projectors, mobile devices, sensory and haptic feedback, immersive audio and lights to create a different sort of riding experience.
Batman’s trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth, narrates the 270-degree entertainment experience, which takes place across five chapters. The demonstration also highlights the security features of self-driving vehicles.
“The emergence of autonomous vehicles portends a major shift in how people use their time,” said Marcie Miller, Intel’s automotive strategic marketing. “The concept car shows how cars will become a new kind of ‘space.’”
Intel predicts that the advent of autonomous driving will liberate commuters, resulting in more than 250 million hours of commuting time per year in the world’s most congested cities. That could represent a $200 billion market for in-vehicle applications and content, Intel forecasts.
The CES showcase offers one concept of the transformed commute. But first, the industry needs to convince consumers that the technology is safe — which is the point of this particular demonstration.
Upon entering the vehicle, guests receive a welcome to the future of in-car entertainment. Once passengers settle into their seats, the cabin is illuminated and Gotham City appears on the windows. Alfred delivers a welcome message and passengers begin their ride as Gotham City moves by on side windows.
Guests take a virtual spin through Gotham City, which is depicted in comic book animation. After watching Batman and Killer Croc interact, Alfred alerts guests to a road closure ahead — a demonstration of how passengers may be notified of important route changes when their eyes and ears are off the road.
The next chapter of the experience illustrates RSS: Responsibility-Sensitive Safety, Intel’s framework for helping autonomous vehicles operate in a safe and trustworthy manner. Within the cabin, Alfred and a dedicated RSS screen show guests how the technology keeps a 360-degree safety monitoring zone around a vehicle.
The demonstration also illustrates how passengers might decide on what movie to see next from the back seat of a car. Guests are shown a trailer for Warner Bros.’s global blockbuster Aquaman, which has been adapted for in-car 270-degree viewing. They’ll see how the they might find nearby theaters and purchase movie tickets from inside the car.
As the demonstration concludes, Alfred informs tells passengers they are arriving and instructs them how to safely depart (almost like a theme-park ride).
After CES, Warner Bros. and Intel will gather real-world feedback from passengers through a series of test drives and pilots this year on the Warner Bros. Studio lot.