Thanks to its popularization in movies like Tron and The Matrix, the concept of virtual reality entered the public consciousness long ago, but augmented reality—in which a gadget like a smartphone or tablet overlays digital information on top of a camera-eye view of the real world—remains a bit more obscure (Pokémon Go not withstanding). And while the technology has become a mainstay of luxury marketing campaigns and virtual shopping experiences, aside from pushing more products at you, the far-reaching possibilities of augmented reality are woefully underutilized.
Enter the Genesis Virtual Guide from Hyundai’s luxury car brand Genesis—a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive digital guide for owners of the marque’s G80 and G90 sedans. The free app obviates the need for a bulky owner’s manual bouncing around in the glovebox, replacing it instead with software containing all the information found in a printed manual, along with how-to videos, three-dimensional overlay pictures, and an easily navigable interface.
After launching the app and choosing their specific vehicle, the owner can select what general part of the car they are interested in (engine, instrument panel, interior, etc.) and then use the camera on their smartphone or tablet to learn more about specific functions. For instance, with the engine selected, owners can point the phone to line up the image of the actual engine with an outline on the display. They can then call up information about each particular component of the engine and even watch guided instructions or videos for routine maintenance tasks like checking oil and fluid levels.
Wondering what that mysterious blinking indicator light means? Inside the cabin, the same process can be used to find out what specific gauges and buttons do. When not near the vehicle, owners can use the app’s pictorial index to browse all the same information without engaging the augmented reality features.
The new app comes on the heels of the Genesis smartwatch software (which allows owners to remotely unlock doors, start the engine, and locate the vehicle using GPS) that debuted earlier this year, so Hyundai is clearly set on putting Genesis at the forefront of new consumer technology. The Genesis Virtual Guide is currently available for the 2017 G80 and G90 models and will also be compatible with all the company’s 2018 models. The app is free and is available for Android devices on the Play Store and iOS devices on the Apple App Store.