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Why Honda is venturing into Oculus' virtual world

Why Honda is venturing into Oculus virtual world


When I took off the headset, I returned -- with some regret -- to Honda’s drab parking lot. I asked Nick Sugimoto, senior program director at the laboratory, how Honda could possibly use the Oculus Rift for anything more than a curiosity.

“We’re in the middle of brainstorming that right now,” Sugimoto said.


That answer says a great deal about why automakers and suppliers have flocked to Silicon Valley in such great numbers over the past half decade.

To be sure, their laboratories have produced some concrete products. Sugimoto’s team worked closely with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. on the new CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces for smartphones.

But another big part of the job is toying with the latest and greatest in technology, to make sure that cars do not fall too far behind laptops, tablets and smartphones.


Honda’s Sugimoto said his team is merely playing with the Oculus Rift for now. There are no plans to commercialize it. But it’s not hard to imagine how the headset could be used.

It could entertain a child in the rear seat by summoning a dream world. Or it could be useful for a driver, offering a panoramic view of the road.

“No more A-pillars,” Sugimoto said.

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I'm not sure I like the idea of a car driver wearing Oculus Rift.

But the idea of entertaining a child seems legit.

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