Automotive development goes XR

Animation of a grey car riding through a forest in the middle of the day.

Keeping pace with widespread digitalization, automotive companies are now taking the integration of extended reality (XR) technologies into their R&D processes very seriously. Interiors and horsepower are no longer enough: The convergence of hardware and software, autonomous driving and voice interfaces are just a few use cases where automotive companies (OEMs) and suppliers need to shift their focus to the driver and passenger user experience.


User experience (UX) design, a human-centered approach with roots in the software industry, has allowed OEMs to test new concepts across a blend of digital, physical and service offerings, cutting across the siloed departments in place at today’s manufacturers. Unlike traditional prototyping techniques, UX offers a way to conduct user research as soon as the first concept stage, representing just enough of the appearance and function of the final product to conduct user research. When combined with immersive technologies, automotive designers can build prototypes to test the complete user experience, promising faster iteration, fewer errors, significant savings in time and resources and, ultimately, better solutions.

Recognizing this trend, Athena, a specialized engineering studio for AR, VR, and gamification, has pioneered not only a vision for the connected car of the future but also the human-centered design process behind it. With the cARVR software, Athena has empowered OEMs with the design thinking mentality of “build to think; show, don’t tell; fail quickly and cheaply; learn by testing,” opening the door to possibilities previously unimaginable. Now, automotive designers have a way to efficiently prototype for emerging and future technologies and validate tomorrow’s reality today.

“It’s exciting to see how cars are increasingly becoming digital products, something we are very familiar with. We know that XR prototyping enables the quick build and validation of digital prototypes, which will not only catalyze the future of in-car experience design, but shift the focus from testing individual technologies to the exploration of the complete user experience.”, Boris Jitsukata, Managing Director at Goodpatch GmbH and Athena.

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