Integrating the vehicle’s movement into a virtual experience in real time adds an immersive new dimension to in-car entertainment.

3 August, 2021

Back in 2019 we had our first look at the virtual reality technology developed by Audi and start-up holoride that took in-car entertainment to new places – literally. At the time, Audi used the Consumer Electronics show (CES) to showcase the emerging technology, where, simply by putting on a VR headset, passengers were carried off into three-dimensional worlds, where the movement of the vehicle was used as part of the experience.

Most recently that experience has been employed to further enhance the cultural aspects of the Salzburg Festival, with this cutting edge technology joining the more traditional range of plays, operas, and concerts that characterise this celebrated cultural event.

The 40-minute virtual journey through time with the VR headset starts in Salzburg’s festival district in an Audi e-tron. The passengers then leap back in time to the year 1762 and find themselves immersed in a three-dimensional historical world. Now in a horse-drawn carriage, they ride through baroque Salzburg in search of six-year-old Mozart. Along the way, they pass historic buildings such as the Felsenreitschule theatre and the Salzburg Cathedral.

After this section, they take off the VR headset to enjoy today’s scenery and the music of the festival. Once they reach Neutorstraße, the guests put the VR headset back on, this time landing in the year 1920 when the history of the Salzburg Festival officially began with Max Reinhardt’s production of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s play Jedermann.

In the third VR section, passengers can take a look into the future, into the year 2121. The VR time travellers experience an artistic flight through heaven and hell in the style of Jedermann and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.

The VR ride through Salzburg combines rich cultural content and an innovative technological experience – truly bringing culture to life in the process. 

The 3D sound in the car is designed to resemble a concert hall experience, with the Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system in the Audi e-tron creating a natural sound environment.

This VR journey through the Salzburg Festival’s storied history is how Audi is celebrating two anniversaries at once – the 100th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival (July 17 to August 31, 2021) and Audi’s 25th anniversary as the main sponsor of the world’s most important festival of classical music and the performing arts. Due to the pandemic, however, this anniversary is being celebrated a year later than originally planned. 

In the future, the progressive automation of travel by car will not only make new forms of entertainment possible while driving – it will also open up increased opportunities to learn and work on the road. 

The three-dimensional experiences in the Audi e-tron are made possible by an immersive technology that combines content with acceleration and steering as well as navigation data about the route and time of the journey in real time. 

This not only engages passengers’ visual and acoustic senses, but also integrates the car’s driving dynamics and acceleration into the VR experience. The results, whether they be travelling back through time, exploring space or total immersion in a cartoon world, are spectacular. The possibilities as they say, are endless.