Fiat uses CGI and real-life footage in ‘industry first’ augmented reality push

Fiat is hoping to drive up interest in its new car, the 500X, by showcasing the car using augmented reality technology that combines CGI with real-life footage in what it claims is a first for the car industry.

Fiat has built an “immersive journey” that eschews what it calls the typical driving sequences or 3D views of new cars that have been used by other car marques. Starring magician Dynamo, the virtual reality experience combines real footage of the magician and the car with CGI, allowing viewers to sit in the car as Dynamo controls it.

Consumers will be able to view the augmented reality experience at a series of roadshows developed with agency Krow, who worked with Framestore on the AR push.

Visitors to the roadshows will be offered the chance to use Oculus Rift technology to experience the new car at the events. Fiat is also using Google Cardboard, Google’s mobile virtual reality service, which will allow visitors to view the film on an app on their phone.

Fiat says: “Most car marques, if they have used virtual reality, have created a fairly standard driving experience. We have developed an immersive experience where Dyanmo takes the viewer on a magical journey with the car. We have combined photo real CGI and real-life footage in a 360-degree 3D experience to create something that’s never been seen before from a car brand.

“Virtual Reality gave us the opportunity to allow people to experience the car as though it’s for real. They watch it being driven in an unusual environment and they ‘sit’ in it themselves as Dynamo ‘controls’ the car.”

The move is the start of a big marketing push for Fiat as it looks to build a “sense of excitement” around the 500X launch ahead of its big unveil at an event in London at the end of January that will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

It has partnered with Dynamo for the launch due to his “broad audience of style-conscious consumers”, a market that it is aiming the 500X at.

The car is Fiat’s response to the booming compact crossover market. The car marque is hoping to build on the success of its 500 city car, which has sold 1.5 million cars and been pivotal in Fiat’s image overhaul.