A major amusement park is experimenting with taking old roller-coasters and using virtual reality headsets to give riders a completely different experience every time they ride the roller coaster. Riders can choose between experiences like flying in a fighter jet to riding in a raft on a set of rapids - all choreographed to the movements of the roller coaster. Two riders right next to each other can have a completely different experience while riding on the same roller coaster - and breathe new life into an old ride.
MGM studios has used this technique for years using big movie screens to change the roller coaster experience (such as the Harry Potter experience). But these are just single examples of how virtual reality is going to change real life experiences in the future.
Imagine the implications to transportation of all types. Riders on public transit could get a virtual reality experience that let's them pretend they are in the Alps, while riding through Chicago. Or consider shopping for a vehicle. Several media outlets are reporting that automakers are considering using virtual reality sales dealerships to show customers a range of models of vehicles and even allow them to experience a test drive in the vehicle. There's obviously a lot of things to consider and work out, but the notion that they are testing it and getting initial customer feedback is exciting and interesting.
Today's consumer is different than those a decade ago, and that's the bottom line that we have to evolve to. They grew up not only with technology, but advanced technology. Many Millennials can't remember a time when they didn't have a cell phone - and a large group of teenagers have a difficult time remembering when it wasn't a smart phone with internet access. They are accustomed to experiencing the world through digital eyes - and companies that embrace this "acceptance" of a digital medium are probably going to do well. There could obviously be early limits to what a consumer will allow via these technologies. And, we don't know whether a consumer will be willing to part with their money after a virtual reality experience - especially for something as expensive as a car.
But, for entertainment purposes, there is a definitive future for virtual reality and how it will become a key part of our lives in the future. And, there's no denying the power of trying to tie virtual reality into transportation experiences. Anything that can change real reality into virtual reality creates some interest for consumers.