The glasses project the equivalent of a large 201-inch high-definition screen in which users can also open multiple virtual screens simultaneously.
William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, announced the panoramic digital cockpit PanoCinema and introduced augmented reality (AR) devices for the first time when he unveiled the ET5 sedan at NIO Day 2021 on December 18.
(Image credit: Nreal)
Chinese AR technology company Nreal and NIO have jointly developed the AR glasses for the ET5, the first time Nreal has created such a product for a car company. Li provided little information at the time, but now Nreal has given more details.
The AR glasses are based on Nreal's existing product, the Nreal Air, a giant screen theater hidden behind stylish sunglasses, the company said in a post published Monday.
"As we approach the age of the metaverse, the NIO ET5 exclusive AR glasses, developed based on Nreal Air, will help NIO make the in-car visual experience transcend the limits of space," Nreal said.
The glasses weigh just 76g and don't look much different from fashion sunglasses, according to Nreal.
It delivers 49 PPD of resolution for a retina-level display. The device is capable of projecting a large high-definition screen equivalent to 201 inches at a sight distance of 6 meters, Nreal said.
In the Nreal Air AR glasses, users can also have multiple virtual screens open at the same time, according to the company.
"As NIO CEO William Li said at the launch, with a visual experience like this, there really isn't a need for that many screens in the car," the company said.
Neither NIO nor Nreal has yet released a demo video of the AR glasses, although the latter has previously released some promotional videos about the Nreal Air.
Founded in January 2017, Nreal is dedicated to AR technology development, with a core team from Magic Leap, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD, Tencent, Lenovo and Xiaomi.
On September 23, Nreal announced the completion of its Series C funding round for over $100 million, co-led by NIO Capital, the venture capital arm of NIO, Yunfeng Capital, and Hongtai Capital.
Existing investors, including Hillhouse Capital's GL Ventures, Sequoia China, and GP Capital, participated in the investment, according to the company.
Zhu Yan, the managing partner of NIO Capital, said at the time that consumer electronics are undergoing a major generational shift as optical technology matures and arithmetic power jumps up, and augmented virtual reality terminals are expected to become the new terminals of smart life.
"We are bullish on the application of AR/VR glasses in the automotive scenario, especially the new possibilities combined with in-car entertainment ...... We are very much looking forward to Nreal as an industry innovation leader to accelerate the smart upgrade of empowered transportation and cities," Zhu said.
Earlier this year, Nreal joined forces with top Japanese operator Docomo to launch Nreal Air in Japan.
In addition to Docomo, Nreal has also partnered with top global carriers including KDDI in Japan, LG U+ in Korea, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone in Spain, Verizon in the US and China Mobile.
Back to NIO's AR glasses, the company's co-founder and president Qin Lihong stressed that it is not self-driving assistance equipment, but in-car entertainment equipment that needs to be used by the driver in park or for the passengers, according to sina.com.cn.
The device is optional and the price has not been announced, but owners who initially pre-order it may only have to pay the manufacturing cost, according to Qin.