Virtual reality is only just gaining momentum in today’s world, but the next step comes in the form of holograms. Volvo is looking to integrate this technology into its operations, which is why it will work together with Microsoft to utilise the company’s HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer.

With HoloLens, Volvo customers are able to configure cars in three dimensions, where holograms are mixed into the physical world. Dealers will also be exposed to a wider form of customer interaction with the product by allowing them to take a car configuration out on the road. It could also benefit the automotive industry from a production standpoint.

“HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want – to explore the colours, rims, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available,” said Björn Annwall, senior vice president of marketing sales and service at Volvo Cars.

Aside from its human-centric purpose, the collaboration also includes the development of autonomous driving technologies. During a recent demonstration, participants were given a mixed reality preview of the upcoming Volvo S90, where they were able to experience the sedan and its self-driving systems long before the car’s official launch in Detroit during the 2016 NAIAS.

Volvo’s ambitious autonomous driving goals is illustrated by the Drive-Me programme, in which 100 self-driving and connected cars will be given to customers on real roads around the Swedish city of Gothenburg by 2017, the world’s largest autonomous driving experiment.

“We are extremely happy to innovate with Microsoft in the field of future mobility,” said Klas Bendrik, senior vice president and chief information officer at Volvo Cars. “Today’s technology will allow us to achieve not only a more sustainable and crash-free future but also new benefits for our customers and society. Together with Microsoft we aim to pioneer in this field.”