- a just-revealed electric concept car from swiss "deep tech" company wayray shows off 3d augmented reality as part of the car's technology.
- the car is designed for ride-hailing—someday you may call up an uber holograktor instead of an uber black—and is mainly a showcase for the holographic technology the company makes.
- porsche, hyundai, and chinese e-commerce giant alibaba are all early investors, wayray says, and the company is targeting release, possibly with a major automaker, by the end of 2025.
we love the sort of outlandish concept cars that treat themselves as high art, and regret that covid-19 and the general death of the big auto show is increasingly denying us this pleasure. but here is a spectacular example of the genre to lift the late holiday weekend malaise: meet the wayray holograktor.
the concept's purpose is serious: to demonstrate what swiss company wayray says is a new holographic windscreen display technology that will allow apparently three-dimensional images to be added to the real world. the angular concept that has been built to preview it, just officially unveiled in germany, is a spectacular example of the attention-grabbing show car. the design might look as if it has been influenced by the early video games that attempted to render the world in large polygons, but wayray says it is actually inspired by russian constructivism, the abstract art movement that created many of the geometric propaganda posters used in the ussr.
"if you have those early soviet posters in mind, you can see those brightly colored geometric shapes of triangles and blocks," the holograktor's russia-born designer sasha selipanov explains in the official press release—he previously worked for bugatti, genesis, and koenigsegg. "coincidentally, the triangular form is reminiscent of a prism, like pink floyd's dark side of the moon album cover." it's hard not to love any car that cites both the floyd and soviet agitprop as its major influences.
wayray says the holograktor has been designed to preview a potential ride-hailing future, although not the fully autonomous one that even the makers of far-out concepts no longer regard as being inevitable. in addition to a fold-away steering wheel for the driver it is also designed for remote operation "by a qualified driver using the car's cameras, radar, mapping and sensor suites." despite the johnny cab–style mission, the holograktor's unspecified ev powertrain is clearly intended to be potent: wayray claims a 3.9-second zero-to-62-mph time, a 125-mph top speed, and 372 miles of range.
the holograktor's primary purpose is to demonstrate wayray's augmented-reality holographic displays. these use glass incorporating a transparent photopolymer film which is able to create an apparently three-dimensional image when struck by light generated by compact laser units. the company says that these deep reality displays have a much bigger field of view than existing automotive head-up displays, and also that information can be shown much brighter at different apparent depths ranging between zero and infinity. working without mirrors means the displays will still work in direct sunlight.
the rear-seat passenger also gets a separate display projected onto a glass screen in front of them from a unit on the concept's roof the official release describes as "the shrimp."
when it comes to the question of what the displays will display, things start to get trippy. the deep reality displays are capable of showing driving information, highlighting pedestrian crossings or red stoplights. but wayray is also predicting a future that includes radically different content, from games, scheduled appointments, and highlighting the proximity of social media contacts to—inevitably—advertising. the company says the system won't show anything to distract a driver when the car is moving, although passengers will be fair game, but when it is stationary, the images of this metaverse show a world filled with manga-style characters and funky animations.
wayray predicts that immersive ai could ultimately reduce the cost of ride-hailing trips for those who agree to watch the ads roll by. and while many of us will view that as a dystopian nightmare, others are likely to welcome the chance to spend extra time with ever more realistic 3d cat videos, without even having to glance at your phone.
wayray says the display technology is ready for production, either in a street-legal version of the holograktor, or in conjunction with other automakers.