Pushing the boundaries of automotive virtual experiences

A1 Designs uses Matterport to demo Nissan Fleet in 3D

With most showrooms closed across the country, car manufacturers and dealers are considering how they'll be able to safely sell in a COVID-19 world. As a result, Nissan UK approached A1 Designs to explore how it could achieve a truly realistic virtual experience for customers. With Matterport, it allows them to access a high-quality and comprehensive 3D tour of each vehicle.

The concept of enabling a customer to immerse themselves and explore a vehicle at their own pace, perusing every corner and curve the car has to offer, acted as a powerful marketing tool for Nissan UK. Using Matterport, A1 Designs designed 3D virtual tours to give customers a real feel for Nissan’s showroom, with accessibility worldwide from any device. This capability unlocks significant and exciting opportunities for the industry, for both improvement and evolution of both car showrooms, and 3D tour experience capabilities.

We caught up with Peter Campbell, Company Director at A1 Designs, about its project with Nissan UK and how Matterport helped bring the fleet to life. 

 Peter Campbell

Q: What inspired the 3D capture of the Nissan Fleet?

Our aim at A1 Designs has always been to think outside the box when it comes to virtual tour technology by identifying niche and unique applications for the Matterport platform. When Nissan approached us looking to achieve an authentic, realistic virtual experience for their customers, we could have gone down the conventional route of applying computer-generated vehicles, like many car manufacturers currently do. 

But for this project, we wanted to create a realistic and immersive experience – the type that can only be achieved by capturing the physical vehicle itself. That’s where Matterport came in.

Q: What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?

The idea is to immerse yourself and explore what each vehicle has to offer. We can all appreciate that today more than ever when we aren’t venturing out as much as we would like. By capturing and creating a digital twin of the fleet, viewers can access a high-quality and comprehensive tour of each vehicle, learn about all the specifications and features via the embedded Mattertags, and really get a feel for the car before they’ve even set foot in it. Not only that, but people can revisit the virtual showroom as many times as they like, and whenever they like, which has obvious advantages for both the potential buyer and Nissan as the seller.

Q: What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring all the different car models?

Satisfaction. This is what we ultimately want to gain from any experience, isn’t it? Feeling satisfied having explored and gained all the information needed from a variety of cars, and making sure one is happy with all aspects and features before diving in and making that purchase decision. It’s the same as buying anything substantial. 

It’s invaluable to be able to visit and comprehensively explore the item on multiple occasions, at convenient times, and all from the comfort of your own sofa! Having this level of upfront knowledge and experience of the product optimizes the decision-making process.

Q: What were the challenges of capturing the inside of the vehicles?

Capturing the interior of the vehicles was indeed a challenge! The nature of scanning in ‘close quarters’ does bring its difficulties, but A1 Designs are experienced in rising to these challenges and relished the opportunity! Having to think fast on our feet during the shoot, we managed to create bespoke equipment and implemented unique working techniques to aid the capture of the vehicle interiors. We also applied some third-party wizardry to the scans in the form of editing, to ensure any imperfections were removed and the output was flawless. As you can see from the tours themselves, we also managed to edit the external studio space, to create a closed and clean environment for the vehicles to be positioned and viewed within, with fantastic results.

Q: How have the 3D tours been helpful in showcasing and marketing each vehicle?

The tours have received excellent feedback. Of course, you can’t beat seeing something in the flesh and being able to touch, feel and even smell certain materials. 

But what these tours have provided is a unique and well-needed level of detail in virtual showroom showcasing. It’s an additional and powerful marketing tool that completes the package from both sides of the vehicle sale engagement.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A1 Designs love to push the boundaries and experiment with new technologies and their applications across multiple sectors. Our core service offering is actually computer-aided design (CAD) and surveying solutions. The versatility of virtual tour platforms has meant we’re able to expand the technology over to additional industries and sectors along with our experience and skillset. This makes things extremely exciting for us as a business, as we strive to continuously improve and evolve what we do and who we can help!


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