Lyft is exploring ways to integrate virtual reality and augmented reality into your Lyft rides, according to a couple of patent applications TechCrunch came across today.
The first, filed in July 2017, is for “providing a virtual reality transportation experience” that would respond to real-world forces and events that happen during your ride, like sudden stops, turn and bumps in the road. Over time, the VR system would be able to predict those bumps and turns in the road.
“For instance, the virtual reality transportation system accesses the historical information for each maneuver along the route and identifies previous inertial forces that transportation vehicles have experienced in the past for the same turns, merges, stops, etc,” the application states. “In some cases, the virtual reality transportation system determines (e.g., calculates) an average of each of the previous inertial forces for the maneuvers along the travel route to predict the inertial forces that the passenger will experience.”
From there, the VR system would generate a virtual experience with virtual interactions based on the real-world environment. Specifically, the VR system may include, “but are not necessarily limited to, virtual collisions with objects, virtual turns, virtual drops, etc.” That sounds mildly horrifying, but it would definitely make for an unforgettable ride. Other ideas of virtual experiences feature a game with lasers and flying saucers.
During your ride, Lyft envisions passengers being able to share their VR experience with people in other cars, or those waiting for a pick-up.
This is likely possible in part thanks to Lyft’s acquisition of Blue Vision Labs, an augmented reality startup, last year. Blue Vision, for example, offers collaborative augmented reality to enable people to see the same spot in space.
Lyft’s other patent application, also filed in July, seeks to provide information to passengers using augmented reality. This one seems to be less about entertainment and more about practical information.
In one example, Lyft would generate virtual objects to overlay on a passenger’s real-world surroundings in order to help with the pick-up or drop-off process. Based on historical data, Lyft envisions identifying the ideal pickup location based on the passenger’s current location, traffic conditions and transportation restrictions.
TechCrunch has reached out to Lyft and will update this story if we hear back.