It’s getting hard to distinguish between virtual reality, augmented reality, and plain old reality. And the distinctions are not getting any easier with California-based Sigma Intégrale’s new racing game product that includes an actual Corvette … or any other car you might want to sacrifice to the cause.
As long as you have the green to make it happen, of course.
The car is real. The gas pedal works, the brakes work, the steering wheel is real, and so is the rest of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including wheels. There’s no engine and no transmission, however, and at each corner of the vehicle is an actuator that gives you realistic lean, shake, and shudder as you drive, crash, and otherwise enjoy yourself. There is amazing in-car sound for the snarl of your nonexistent 800-horsepower motor.
And, since a car without an engine won’t drive very far, three 50” LCD screens right in front of your dash show you a 180-degree view of the world you are about to drive very, very quickly through.
“We’ve built eight cars like this,” a company representative told me at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today. “This is our showroom model.”
The car blurs the lines between virtual reality, augmented reality, and reality. You’re sitting in a real car, and a passenger can ride along with you. The bumps, acceleration, and crashes you sense feel real. The gas pedal’s effect on your engine’s snarl is visceral. But, of course, the car never really moves, and you’re in fact playing a PC version of Assetto Corso, the ultra-realistic racing simulator and game.
If you have the cash to buy a system like this, you probably also have the cash to set it up in its own large room, or in some massive home playground of sorts. But you’ll be happy to know it runs off house current, drawing a steady 120 volts, storing it in capacitors, and releasing it as needed in bursts.
Driving it made me wonder: Can I do this with my car?
“No, you can’t do this with a real car,” a Sigma representative told me. A real car with an engine and transmission would likely be too heavy. And there’d be challenges fitting the actuators in on each wheel.
So for real driving feel and real driving thrills, I suppose I’ll have to stick to the real road for now.
Anyone who feels differently, however, will have to hit up Sigma for a custom build with the vehicle of their choice.