Riding in a car without an active driver behind the wheel is an exciting sign of things to come. But as driverless cars become more commonplace, and fewer people actually engage in the act of driving, Valeo's development team believes people will have more time to connect with one another. That's why Valeo is integrating its sensors with virtual reality, so virtual passengers can come along for the ride.
"What if you could bring others into your car who aren't physically with you," asked Valeo research and innovation manager David Hermina, "and experience the driving as if you were together?"
Hermina recently shared a ride to Tahoe with his grandmother, who lives in Puerto Rico. All she needed to enjoy a conversation with her grandson and see the sights of California was a special headset connected to the car's cameras that allowed her to "look" out the windows by turning her head to the left or right.
"So you can see the person, and you can wave and say hi," Hermina said, waving to his grandmother, who laughed and waved back. "Hey, how are you?" Hermina asked. "Doing great," she replied.
"Every team member within my team is from a different country," Hermina said. "So we had a lot of motivation for creating a system that could bridge the gap between people."