Volvo teams with Microsoft HoloLens for virtual car buying

In the near future, car buyers may find themselves putting on Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset in order to check out a Volvo in a kind of virtual showroom. The car manufacturer has announced a partnership with Microsoft to incorporate the HoloLens into the car buying experience. The concept they debuted today images a customer and car dealer putting on the headset and interacting with a holographic car.

The HoloLens would allow users to do the typical things one would expect when shopping for a car, like comparing colors and wheel rims, as well as much more, like inspecting a projection of the engine from any angle, getting a view of what it's like to sit inside, or experience demonstrations of a car's unique features.

A real, virtual showroom was also built at Microsoft's headquarters to show case the experience of interacting with a vehicle while wearing the HoloLens. Users were able to experiment with the technology by inspecting a projection of Volvo's upcoming S90 sedan. Because the HoloLens presents an overlay of an object over users' vision of reality, they can walk around and view it in realtime, while still being aware of their surroundings like physical walls.

Volvo imagines the HoloLens not only enhancing the car-buying experience, but also as a way to teach users about their new vehicles, showing them the features they might otherwise overlook. "People aren't reading car manuals or user manuals much anymore, and there's so much they miss," a Volvo representative says.

There's no firm details about when the average car buyer will be able to experience such a virtual showroom, but Volvo says they are planning to make it available to the public in some way in 2016.