Virtual reality has exploded in the last few years in video games and now it’s poised to make strides in the automobile industry with a bump from Minnesota.
ZeroLight Limited, based out of the UK dba ZeroLight USA has been developing virtual reality solutions for automotive retailers over the past few years and they recently hired industry veteran Chip Pedersen as Director of Product Development to plant a flag in Minnesota.
ZeroLight USA is a creative studio that builds virtual reality experiences that allow retailers to demonstrate their products in an immersive environment by enabling customers to design their own custom product from scratch. So far, they have focused primarily on the automotive industry and they’ve created such experiences for Audi, Toyota, Nissan, and more.
Building on their past experience as a games company called Eutechnyx, ZeroLight has spent five years fine tuning the car buying experience in a virtual landscape. Using a VR headset like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, customers can work with a sales expert to customize their own car, choosing the model, paint color, interior material and design, and a host of other features. Customers can look under the hood, seeing a meticulously designed recreation of the car they’re about to purchase, down to the individual screws and spark plugs. Audi City stores throughout Europe have used ZeroLight’s technology to revolutionize the car buying experience for over two years.
When Pedersen was presented with the opportunity to lead product development, he insisted that he be allowed to stay in Minnesota. Leveraging his experience as a games developer and producer, Pedersen brings with him a strong track record of working with IP and keeping the brand front and center. While at Concrete Games, led the team behind the first NHL game on the Microsoft Xbox and created a variety of hunting and fishing games leveraging the Bass Pro Shops brand.
Picture this AR Pagani parked in your driveway
Pedersen just returned from a trip to Japan where he unveiled ZeroLight’s most recent project, the Nissan Leaf. ZeroLight has been able to increase sales for their clients because of the reaction customers have to seeing their new car in their favorite color in 3D. “[Customers] are spending more money to customize it, to get the car they want,” he says. “The big thing is upsale. Kind of like ordering a pizza online. ‘Oh yeah, let’s get olives. And extra cheese.’ Suddenly your $10 pizza is now $15. And that’s how customers are buying cars. They’re spending more money to customize it, to get the car they want.”
ZeroLight USA plans to replicate the team in place at their UK office in Minneapolis with 2018 hiring plans for developers with experience in Unity and mobile.