Big screen TVs have nothing on the cars we will be driving in years to come. Volkswagen has just bought into a company as part of a plan to bring three dimensional holograms to future models.

Hazardous situations will be projected into the driver’s environment in three dimensions, “touchable” displays will be suspended instead of controls, partners and telephone conversations will appear as holograms.

Passengers will be able to play hovering, three-dimensional Tetris.

All of these scenarios could soon become reality in the automobile of the future.

Volkswagen has acquired a minority stake in the leading technology company SeeReal Technologies, but the two companies have in fact been conducting research together since the end of last year.

Head-up displays of the type already in the marketplace can project their information within a limited space.

In contrast, in the full-electric Volkswagen ID.3, which is to be sold from 2020 onwards, information will be projected into the driver’s field of vision, with direct links to the driver’s environment — via an augmented reality head-up display.

In future generations of head-up displays, three-dimensional presentations will even merge seamlessly with the environment, allowing innovative display concepts both in the distance and near to the driver.

In future, conventional dashboards may become obsolete and vehicles may be controlled via virtual switches and displays.

All occupants would be able to use “touchable” three-dimensional displays with natural vision for information or interaction.

Head of Volkswagen Group Innovation, Dr. Axel Heinrich, said augmented reality will be a key component in future mobility and interaction concepts.

“This is why we are focusing on key technologies such as holography which will present this new reality in a fascinating way,” he said.

“We will be providing the automotive requirements for this exciting project and the know-how in 3-D technology will be contributed by SeeReal.”

hologram - volkswagen hologram 02 - Volkswagen gets all touchy-feely

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.