Volkswagen Delivers What We've All Been Wanting in a Concept Car: Holograms in the Trunk

Have you ever been driving a car nice and hard, really giving it the beans and pushing it hard through the corners, when the realization suddenly hits you that, hey, this thing would be much better if there was a big hologram emitter in the floor of the trunk? Sure you have—we all have. Volkswagen has finally done something about this, and the result is a one-off GTI with a powerful sound system with a revolutionary holographic interface in the hatch.

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The concept Golf, called the Golf GTI Aurora, was built by a team of 18 apprentices at the Volkswagen Group Components division over a period of eight months specifically for this years’ Wörthersee Treffen GTI gathering.

It’s got a fun graphic stripe treatment with a hexagonal/circuit-trace sort of design, a massive rear wing, a cage, which is prudent since this one has been tuned to 374 horsepower, and a custom 3500-watt sound system, so you can really crank Fresh Air like it’s meant to be heard.

But the real surprise here, of course, is the holographic display system mounted in the floor of the trunk that provides the user interface to the car’s sound system. It’s a custom-designed holographic system that can be interacted with via hand gestures, and the holographic images just appear to “float” in the air. According to Carsten Busse, one of the developers,

“It’s like a kind of mirage that one can very clearly see and influence. We use that for a completely new operating experience. The hologram floats freely in space, above the hardware that is installed in a module in the luggage compartment.”

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The patented, proprietary system requires no headsets or controllers or glass panels for display. Here’s Busse bragging again:

“Our hologram technology, by contrast, offers more opportunities for interaction. I can interact with real-looking holograms and also communicate with my passengers through them. And all that without 3D glasses, in open space.”

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It’s impressive sounding, though it’s hard to really appreciate it from the still photos, but hopefully there will be some video of it in action when it’s presented to the public at Wörthersee.

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VW’s press site suggests that the technology is less than a decade away, and while I think a trunk-floor implementation like this is unlikely, perhaps we’ll see it in dashboard and infotainment displays?

When are they going to implement holographic monster-fighting chess tables in cars? That’s what everyone wants, anyway.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)