New Mobile Technology Allows Car Buyers to Dream Bigger

Edmunds, the car shopping and information platform, has launched an augmented reality (AR) feature that will help consumers visualize and determine whether different vehicles will fit in their garages, parking spaces and driveways. This new capability will be available on the Edmunds app for iPhone, making it easier than ever for consumers to research and find the perfect car.

Edmunds experts say a critical and often overlooked step in the shopping process is to confirm that the car someone is looking to purchase can fit where they’re planning to park it. Many dealerships offer extended test-drive programs that allow shoppers to take the vehicle home for a night, but this isn’t always an option. This new AR feature from Edmunds allows car shoppers to virtually conduct the fit test with as many vehicles as they wish, from the convenience of their iPhone.

“Mobile-driven AR technology is evolving in ways that we can now start to leverage it to make car shopping easier and more convenient, similar to the disruption we’re seeing elsewhere in retail,” said Brock Stearn, Edmunds’ director of immersive technology.

This new feature was developed by Edmunds on the Apple ARKit. The feature will be available alongside editorial reviews, photos and videos in the Edmunds app for iOS 11, which debuted Sept. 19. The feature leverages depth-sensing, area learning and motion-tracking technology to scan a local environment and create a 3D mesh of an environment. This 3D mesh is used with ARKit to determine if the 3D model of a vehicle can fit within that environment.

For the user, the experience is as simple as opening the application, which uses the phone’s camera to scan a garage or parking space and then overlays a 3D model representative of the selected vehicle into the image. For driveways and other areas without walls, users will be able to create virtual walls in order to provide the same functionality. Once an area is learned, the user can cycle through different vehicles to see which ones may safely fit or not. Specifications of nearly all U.S. vehicles from 1990 to present will be supported.

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