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2023 BMW M2 Turned Into The World’s Most Elaborate Video Game Controller

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BMW today announced it has been working on a mixed reality headset for its vehicles. The system combines a VR headset and a 2023 BMW M2 to create a game that combines gaming visuals with (literal) real-world physics.

BMW calls its new creation ///M Mixed Reality, and it works by first placing a driver in a real car. In this case, that car is a 2023 M2 because it’s new, and the automaker is proud of it, but conceptually it could work in any vehicle.

The driver then gets a VR headset, which has cameras attached to the exterior. Through it, they can see the real world, though it can likely be combined with augmented reality additions. The game really comes into its own, though, when the car is placed in a big empty parking lot and real-world visuals are edited out.

Read: BMW Will Become First Team To Add Its LMDh Race Car To iRacing

In a demonstration with YouTube personality and sim racer Jimmy Broadbent, the visuals that can be seen onscreen are completely divorced from reality and, instead, look like a cyberpunk Mario Kart track.

In this virtual world, an autocross course is built, through which Broadbent has to navigate and set a fast time. Helping him are BMW M coins that reduce his time, and obstructing him are virtual blockades that discourage him from using one half of the track.

“It felt like a theme-park ride. It felt like I was sitting on a rollercoaster that I was in control of, which is always a little bit scary,” says Broadbent. “It feels like grown up Mario Kart.”

Read: It Takes The Benz Patent Motorwagen More Than 1 Hour To Go Around The Nürburgring In Assetto Corsa

It’s not hard to imagine how, if you had a big enough pad of concrete, you could simulate any number of real racetracks in mixed reality, which would make it a very fun toy indeed. It would also make it better than any motion rig out there, albeit much more expensive.

Just what practical purpose this serves, however, BMW does not make clear. As an experiment, though, it’s a pretty exceptionally cool use of technology.

“At BMW M, we have always been testing the limits of what is technically feasible and thus, among other things, laying the foundation for new immersive experiences,” said Frank van Meel, CEO of M GmbH. “Anyone who asks what virtual experiences in the automotive sector might look like in future: That is the answer. People must be able to experience this new feeling — and with ///M Mixed Reality, we offer them a suitable solution for this.”

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