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Nissan's 'invisible-to-visible' tech at CES 2019 isn't for ghost hunting

This pie-in-the-sky tech wants to help drivers see through buildings and work with virtual driving coaches.


If you're going to bring futuristic tech to CES, you need to go big or go home. Nissan's CES 2019 presence definitely qualifies as going big.

Nissan announced Friday that it will display something called "invisible-to-visible" (i2V) technology at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. At its highest level, i2V crunches data from just about every source possible to give either a driver or an autonomous car a better idea of the world around the vehicle. It also involves a virtual world called the Metaverse, which is capable of beaming 3D avatars into the cabin for various tasks or just plain ol' company. Yeah, it's weird.

Let's start with the data-crunching part, which is far more rooted in our current reality. Sensors both inside and outside the vehicle send information to Nissan's Omni-Sensing cloud, which can use that data to "map" a space around the car, highlighting pertinent information like road signs and pedestrians. That cloud data can be used later on when other vehicles enter the same area, giving them a bit of an advantage in knowing what's ahead. It can even suggest what lane to be in.

It wouldn't be CES without a pieces of decades-away tech that features so many buzzwords it should be given an honorary marketing degree.


And then there's the Metaverse, which is where it gets weird. This part of the i2V system is capable of beaming three-dimensional avatars into the vehicle. These avatars represent actual flesh-and-blood human beings, apparently. Nissan notes a few examples of how this Metaverse could be useful -- for example, a professional driver avatar could ride shotgun and offer suggestions on being a better driver, or an avatar of a local could help road trippers discover places to eat in a town they've never been through. The Metaverse can also drop your friends or family into the car for a little company on a long, lonesome trip.

Any information pertinent to the driver, whether it's related to the Omni-Sensing cloud's data gathering or the Metaverse avatars, will be displayed across the entire windshield.

Of course, the technology to beam 3D avatars into actual vehicles doesn't exist quite yet, so Nissan's CES demonstration will require a little help. To experience the i2V system, visitors to Nissan's booth will need to don augmented-reality goggles that will show what the experience could be like. It's some weird, wild stuff so keep your eyes glued to Roadshow next week, when we'll get up close and personal with this and so many other promising future technologies.

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