Driving Challenge Involves a VR Helmet, a Real Car, and a Formula Drift Racer

Castrol EDGE has released its latest Titanium Trial as a driving challenge involving Formula Drift star Matt Powers in his Roush Stage 3 Mustang. The catch? Powers is driving his Mustang while wearing an Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 headset and is totally blind to the real-world. Instead, an alternate world is presented to him in virtual reality via that headset.

The mesh of video game and reality was filmed as Powers drove his Mustang in the real world as the virtual one presented him with cliff drops, crumbling track, tunnels, and even cameo appearances from another Ford racing icon.

Castrol EDGE and creative technologists, Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder, developed the all-new technology behind the trial. By extracting the data from the car’s internal diagnostics (OBD2 data) and exterior positional tracking systems (GPS and inertial measurement), the team were able to sync the data with Power’s Oculus Rift DK2 helmet, making a previously sit-down, stationary experience, now a mobile experience in a moving vehicle. For the first time ever, the team turned a real car into a giant game controller, allowing Powers to experience the virtual world through his helmet as he drove the course.

Everything from the steering angle and wheel spin, to the dynamic damping and throttle position was tracked, allowing Castrol EDGE to simulate the vehicle with near perfect accuracy in the virtual world. With the Oculus Rift DK2 updating 75 times a second, new technology was needed to match or exceed that rate, to give Powers a seamless driving experience. It’s this expertise and granular attention to detail that helped bring the trial to life.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.