Elon Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, has been making waves over the past year for its Model 3, its acquisition of Solar City and its push for power storage technology, but its future cars could be rather eye catching too. Tesla has recently hired on its second ex-Microsoft and more importantly, ex-Hololens developer, prompting some to suggest that Teslas of tomorrow could feature augmented reality.
While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive battle it out in the consumer virtual reality space, Microsoft has been developing something a little different. The Hololens is an (albeit expensive) augmented reality headset, that lets you see digital objects in the real world – think Pokémon Go, but much, much more contextual and realistic.
Last year Tesla hired on computer vision expert at Microsoft’s Hololens, Yekeun Jeong and now it’s acquired the services of Andrew Kim, who was a senior designer for the Hololens project. His new job at Tesla is as a lead designer at its Hawthorne, California design studio. He is also said to have worked on the company’s Xbox One S console and was given a signed one as a parting gift from Microsoft employees.
Reported first by SlashGear, this move by Hololens alumni is an interesting one and suggests that Tesla is very much working on augmented reality features for its upcoming vehicles. Whether they’ll make it into already announced cars like the affordable, Tesla Model 3 though, is anyone’s guess.
Others have suggested that Kim’s particular talents in design could be leveraged in many of Tesla’s current projects though, including its idea for solar roof tiles, which we’re told will be more aesthetically pleasing than traditional tiles.
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KitGuru Says: Although Tesla might need to give us a headset that’s cheaper than a $3,000 Hololens for us to use AR while driving, it’s an intriguing idea that before cars become entirely autonomous we could leverage some of their features in an augmented heads up system.