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Ferrari wants to pit real and virtual racers against each other on the same track

by Nik Berg
28 September 2023 2 min read
Ferrari wants to pit real and virtual racers against each other on the same track

Ferrari hopes to use augmented reality to allow gamers and racers to compete against each other.

A new patent lodged with the United States Patent and Trademark Office proposes a scheme that allows a driver on track to race against a rival at home on a gaming console or PC.

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In the real car the driver would have a special “interface” in the windshield that allows a virtual race car to be superimposed in their view. Ferrari even includes the mirrors in its proposal so that you can see your digital rival chasing you. An alternative option would be a helmet with augmented reality projection built-in. Back at home the gamer would be able to see the position of the real car digitally represented as in any racing game. In the event that the virtual and real vehicles should have a coming together the driver of the real car would receive haptic feedback through the steering or a seat actuator.

Ferrari doesn’t appear to envisage a full grid of virtual and real racers dicing for position, rather the system has been designed to make track days more exciting for amateurs. Throwing augmented reality into the mix would give a driver on track an element of competition without significantly increasing the risk. It could also prove to be a handy driver coaching tool, with drivers in the real world learning from remote instructors or gamers picking up tips from professionals in a real car.

In order to make the racing as smooth as possible a solid 5G or even 6G mobile internet connection would be required with a latency of under 500 milliseconds, says Ferrari, but the rest of the technology is already available.

Ferrari’s patent filing also notes that the system could further advance autonomous driving as it “implements a merging between real world and virtual world in order to test self-driving cars or have self-driving cars race against each other.”

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