Automotive augmented reality display maker WayRay is making a move to help developers get all those slick, futuristic AR functions we see in concept videos into the real cars of today.
On Thursday, the company launched its True AR SDK beta, which is designed to enable developers to build augmented reality apps with safety alerts, navigation prompts, and infotainment controls for its AR displays, which includes original manufacturer and aftermarket models.
"Broad adoption of autonomous vehicles will spark a massive variety of AR applications to blend the virtual and real-world environment through holographic AR displays," said Vitaly Ponomarev, founder and CEO of WayRay, in a statement. "We aim to create a platform — like an app store with bespoke content for drivers-turned-passengers — that transform the automotive value chain, create new business models, and reshape the whole mobility paradigm."
Available now for download, the True AR SDK includes an API, emulator, simulator, developer documentation, and samples. The SDK supports C++, but it is limited to Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04 LTS, and supports macOS Sierra or High Sierra.
Originally teased at CES 2018, WayRay will return to the conference in 2019 with an SDK demo zone, where attendees can experience the True AR driving experience in VR or tinker with developing AR apps on the spot. The company will also host several technical sessions for developers.
To spur development, the company is also sponsoring the Automotive Prize Category at the Reality Virtually Hackathon, which takes place at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 17.
Among the participants will be the 30 winners of WayRay's True AR Challenge, a contest that asked designers and developers to submit their concepts for AR apps for automobiles. The chosen concepts include a real-life ad blocker that obscures billboards and other distracting content, a truck driver assistant, and a ride-share navigation app.
After a boost of $80 million in funding earlier this year, WayRay has its sights set on attaining unicorn status, a space where fellow AR upstarts Magic Leap and Niantic are also pinning their hopes. Building an ecosystem for its automotive AR displays is a necessary step on the way to convincing automakers and aftermarket consumers to join the company for the ride.