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Famous Auto Manufacturers Step into the Metaverse

With the Metaverse ruling the future of virtual reality, many industries are rushing to secure a piece of the billion dollar pie. This being said, the automotive industry is steadily integrating in the virtual world, as the benefits are numerous and the exposure is significant. In fact, this integration has enabled streamlining and optimization of supply chain management to a certain extent, and is expected to continue over the coming years with rapid advancements in metaverse technologies. 

Automotive company advantages 

  • Enhancement of the design process by allowing designers to design and share prototype designs in real-time with other designers across the globe, enabling acceleration of the process and procurement of materials.
  • Increase in use of gaming platforms to design advanced models of cars and in-vehicle entertainment systems.
  • Rising investment of major automotive manufacturers to develop their own Metaverse to improve consumer experience.
  • Rapid advancements in AR and VR devices are some key factors expected to drive market revenue growth over the forecast period.
  • Development of virtual showrooms.

Customer advantages

As mentioned above, companies will surely benefit from this integration. However, the Metaverse in the automotive sector is expected to enhance the user experience and bridge the gap between customers opting for online purchase of cars and dealerships by:

  • Developing virtual showrooms, which helps customers have a better look and feel of the car.
  • Enabling customers to test drive cars in the Metaverse and understand the experiences of designers and developers in real time.
  • Allowing customers to take part in the design and development process by providing companies with their personal opinion and feedback, a major step towards satisfying their taste and needs before production.

Market study 

According to the Automotive Blockchain – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics report by Global Industry Analysts Inc, amid the COVID-19 crisis that has handicapped the whole world, the global market for automotive blockchain, which is estimated at USD 339.7 million in the year 2020, is expected to hit USD 1.6 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.5% over the analysis period.

Also, Application and Solution Providers are projected to record a 30.8% CAGR and reach USD 1 billion by the end of the analysis period, while Middleware Providers are readjusted to a revised 27.2% CAGR for the next 7 years.

As for the US market, it is estimated at USD 136.8 million in the year 2021, whereas China, the world’s second largest economy, is projected to reach USD 266.7 million by 2026.

Among other significant countries are Japan and Canada, each to grow at 25.9% and 24.1% respectively, and Germany at approximately 19.7% CAGR.

This analysis shows that the expected rates are quite high and the industry is moving fast. In addition to that, rapid advancements in metaverse platforms, increasing number of companies building production and manufacturing facilities in the metaverse, and development of metaverse-based in-car entertainment systems are some other factors expected to drive revenue growth of the market going ahead. 

Nonetheless, high costs of VR and AR devices, lack of proper knowledge reading metaverse, and certain limitations associated with the rapidly emerging technology is expected to hamper market growth to a certain extent over the forecast period, but the future remains bright and promising. 

Automotive companies tapping into the Metaverse

In June 2021, Hyundai Motor Company announced acquisition of Boston Dynamics to enhance the robotics business and provide customers with a great mobility experience. In January 2022, Hyundai introduced Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot in the Metaverse to accelerate development of its Meta-mobility concept. 

In January 2022, Honda, Renault and Volvo adopted components made based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.   The chipmaker also announced that it has joined forces with Microsoft to develop custom AR chips to power AR glasses integrating with Mesh, Microsoft’s MR platform to tap into the metaverse world.

Another example would be Audi, which has recently partnered with Holoride.  Audi will be the first automobile manufacturer in the world to deliver holoride-ready experiences through its vehicles’ MIB 3 infotainment system. In fact, the Holoride system intertwines backseat passengers’ physical world with augmented reality for a motion-synchronized journey as the car moves along. The system is brand-agnostic, which means other automakers can support it, too.

According to Nikkei Asia, Nissan created a virtual reality version of its Nissan Crossing gallery in Tokyo. The virtual space will be used to launch its vehicles and other events. Moreover, Toyota has developed virtual workspaces for its employees to interact in a more immersive and realistic way. According to reports, the workspace features the employees’ avatars that are used to participate in company events and meetings. 

Insurance and customer service

Just like insuring tangible objects, insurance is a service provided in the Metaverse too. However, it does not stop here, for maintenance services, exchanges between the experiences of drivers, owning a digital twin of the car as well as reviewing it are all part of the experience.

For instance, NAPA, American retailers’ cooperative distributing automotive replacement parts, accessories and service items, has already made plans for the virtual reality world, and some of the services it aims to provide are retail store services online and in virtual reality platforms that feature operating a retail store online and in the metaverse(s), online worlds, or other virtual reality platforms selling tangible and virtual goods, in addition to home delivery and store pickup of tangible goods. Another service is motor vehicle repair online and in virtual reality platforms as well as selling and facilitating vehicle service and repair.

As the hype grows bigger by the day, more companies are expected to join the Metaverse world, as not only does it help auto companies reach their goals faster, but it also makes the consumer an integral part of the process. With the collection of the consumer’s feedback and virtual participation, one can say that the consumer now has an opinion in the project, and probably a final say too.

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Anna K.

Anna K. is an editor at Unlock Blockchain. She pursued her studies in Translation at USJ, and later obtained an MA in Conference Translation and another in International Relations. Anna has worked in reputable organizations such as the ICC, UNDP, ESCWA, STL and An-Nahar Newspaper. She also has 3 years of experience in digital marketing, which allows her to combine the best of both worlds.

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