Holoride, the in-car virtual reality startup that spun out of Audi at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, is finally letting the general public try its technology with a new experience in Los Angeles, California. On select days between October 14th and November 9th, visitors to the Universal CityWalk in Hollywood can try a new Bride of Frankenstein VR experience for free while traveling in the second row of a new Ford Explorer.
In the experience, riders will buckle into the back seat, strap on a VR headset, be handed a controller, and then spend about five to 10 minutes riding around the Universal CityWalk area while blasting ghosts and helping the Bride of Frankenstein deliver a package to her resuscitated husband.
The whole idea behind Holoride is to create a dynamic backseat VR experience that matches the movement of the car – using data that comes off a modern car's sensors and computers – and also leverage navigational information to make sure it lasts just as long as the ride you're taking. When the startup debuted the concept at CES, it positioned the idea as "a perfectly motion-synchronized journey through virtual worlds." (This motion-matching is also supposed to cut back on motion sickness, though your mileage may vary.)  But where the CES demo was done in partnership with Audi and Disney (using Avengers IP), this new experience in Los Angeles was created in conjunction with Universal and Ford. This helps demonstrate how Holoride plans to be hardware and content agnostic, according to CEO Nils Wollny.
"We want to change the passenger experience of vehicles globally, in as many vehicles as we can, so that passengers are able to experience stories, worlds, characters they love no matter what brand they're sitting in," Wollny told The Verge in an interview ahead of this week's announcement.
Another difference with the Bride of Frankenstein experience is that the rides around Universal CityWalk will happen on public roads, instead of at a racetrack like they did at the CES demo. This naturally means there is much higher speed or dynamic driving. But if Holoride's idea is ever going to become part of the ride-hailing (or even personal car ownership) experience, it will need to create compelling experiences in normal traffic.
"The thing that excited us was this idea of a procedural experience, the idea that you could build a story created around everyday travel," Greg Reed, vice president of technology partnerships at Universal Pictures, told The Verge . “It really sets it up as an experience that could fit into a vehicle of your own, a ride sharing vehicle, or public transportation. Again, this idea that you're adding an experience like this to every day life. ”
Holoride's Bride of Frankenstein experience will run between October 14th – 16th, October 21st – 23rd, October 28th – 30th, and November 4th – 9th , all during the hours of 12PM PT and 8PM PT.