SXSW 2022 dives into the future of mobility
This year at SXSW, it’s the universal future of transportation that takes center stage.
While automotive technology has not traditionally been a core feature of South by Southwest, Austin’s annual festival has, in many ways, been an innovator in finding ways to move people around town.
From SXSW shuttles to pedicabs inspired by the proliferation of motorized scooters and bicycles, the city of Austin, and South-By in particular, has always made navigating the festival relatively simple.
This year, however, it is the universal future of transportation that takes center stage.
For starters, the conference includes a dedicated mobility track with US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaking on Wednesday. A full range of panels covering topics such as last mile mobility, hyperloop, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, e-bikes, personal aerial vehicles, delivery, drones and commercial space travel are also featured. .
For the first time this year, much of the conference will feature the involvement and participation of multiple automakers.
As part of the company’s new three-year sponsorship of SXSW, Herndon-based Volkswagen is hosting various “Buzz Stops” throughout Austin, where festival attendees can experience the next coming chapter of the brand’s future. of iconic vehicles.
Dozens of all-electric, five-passenger VW ID.4 SUVs have been spotted across Austin, with VW staff on hand to provide information, education and entertainment. With the 2022 version now in circulation, the vehicle has a range of nearly 250 miles on a single charge.
But the real leader of the SXSW clubhouse is the ID. Buzz, a 100% battery-powered version of the classic ’60s VW Microbus, makes its very first public appearance here in Austin.
“The VW Microbus has been emblematic of the cultural ideals that have inspired change and driven progress, both in the United States and around the world,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
“South by Southwest’s commitment to innovation and technology, coupled with its access to culture and creativity, makes it the ideal location for ID. Buzz will make his very first public appearance. We are happy to bring the ID. Buzz in Austin and showcase the innovation contained in this newest member of our electric vehicle lineup.
While VW is introducing a fuel-free option for traversing city streets and highways, Audi has unveiled a tech breakthrough designed to keep kids in the back seat fully occupied during car journeys.
This year, Audi is introducing “holoride”, a virtual reality-based product that synchronizes with the movement of the automobile, providing a gaming platform that directly matches the road and topography the vehicle is traversing.
Partially funded by Audi, holoride actually creates its technology for several, often competing, automakers, on the premise that this form of gaming can spread throughout the automotive industry.
Through the magic of a head-mounted display, holoride turns every car journey into a theme park, giving rear passengers a fun, connected experience with every ride.
“Three years ago, I was working for Audi’s autonomous driving department and we were thinking about how we could create an in-car entertainment format that is truly meant to be lived and fully experienced, together with the vehicle,” said Daniel Profendiner, one of the company’s co-founders.
“So what we’ve done, and basically what we’re doing now, is take real-time sensor data from the car and turn it into a sleek virtual reality game where the user interacts directly with streets, sidewalks and surroundings,” Profendiner said.
Designed for near-future integration into Audi’s next lineup of vehicles – with the promise that other manufacturers will follow – the product is expected to hit the market later this year.
To complement the SXSW automotive lineup, Porsche is also making its SXSW debut under a three-year cooperation agreement.
Through the company’s signature installation, titled “A Creator’s Mind,” Porsche opens up its design department’s secret sketchbook to shed light on what they call “Porsche Unseen” studies.
The portfolio includes design sketches and completed studies, displayed in the custom-built Porsche space within the festival on 4th Street.
The interior of this venue has been designed to resemble the surface of a giant design office and provides music, film, tech and gaming creators with a stage to showcase their visions and projects.
Like every year, South-By-Southwest is continually reinventing itself. For 2022, it becomes clear that the future of mobility is undeniably in the show’s outlook.
And this week, we get a first-hand look at that future.
Steve Winter and Kenny Fried are OMCP contributors who work for Brotman|Winter|Fria division of Sage Communications.