Culture

Audi uses VR tech to take you on a tour of Singapore -- in 1965

The German automaker is giving free rides in the island nation, with VR devices powered by LG showing you how its civic areas looked 50 years ago.

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Time travel in action. Aloysius Low/CNET

Virtual reality may seem like something from the future, but in Singapore, Audi is using it to give people a blast from the past.

In celebration of 50 years of Singapore's independence, the German automaker is using virtual reality (VR) headsets powered by LG's G4 smartphone to show people what the country's civic areas looked like in 1965, the year it split with Malaysia.

The headset uses the phone's GPS to track the user, who is then shown realistic imagery of their exact location from 50 years ago. The ride also comes with voice narration explaining the island nation's history.

It's the latest example of innovation in the VR field, which is presently occupied by the likes of Google and Samsung with their respective Cardboard and Gear VR devices. The market will get even more interesting next year, when products like Sony's PlayStation VR and Facebook-backed Oculus Rift become available.

To confirm the accuracy of its "Drive Back In Time" VR experience, Audi took a crew of seniors who lived in the country five decades ago for a test ride. The heartwarming video of their reactions and recollections is embedded below.

The promotion is open to the public from October 17-25. It's free, and lasts for 15 minutes, but you'll need to pre-register at the Audi site here, with each ride seating up to three guests.