Microsoft just announced that it will be partnering with Volvo to develop automotive technology. At best, this marks the entrance of one of the world’s great technology companies into the self-driving car market.
The text of the announcement, though, seems far more prosaic.
The stated plan is for Volvo to use Microsoft’s virtual reality technology to transform the car buying process:
Imagine enhancing your car buying experience at the dealership by viewing the complete inside of the vehicle you are interested in. With the power of holograms, we have the ability to open the car up completely, take a closer look at the engine, inspect the chassis or watch the drivetrain and transmission in action. Imagine viewing and customizing the car of your personal choosing, and viewing it at scale. You could have access to the full array of options, features and possibilities associated with every car make and model. Imagine then seeing the car you’ve configured, at full scale, as a high-definition hologram projected into your garage, long before the car has even been manufactured.
Perhaps this is a first foray into the automotive industry, a precursor of bigger things to come.
By itself, though, it’s pretty small. Transforming the auto buying process may not be a big deal if people stop buying cars altogether.
Originally published at www.davidincalifornia.com on November 21, 2015.