Volvo, Google Cardboard Let You Test-Drive the New XC90 at Home

Nov 14, 2014 03:58 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Simultaneously teasing the new XC90 and appealing to tech-savvy younger consumers, Volvo is launching a virtual reality test-drive of the new SUV in an app that works with Google Cardboard.

The Volvo Reality app, which will launch at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show, puts drivers into the 2015 XC90 months before it's available in dealerships, according to the automaker.  

The move makes Volvo the first automaker to team up with Cardboard, an unusual Google project that turns an Android smartphone into a virtual reality headset with the aid of some corrugated cardboard, lenses, Velcro and a few other fairly easy-to-find items.

"With Google Cardboard we can deliver an experience that is so much richer than simple videos or pictures," Volvo's Bodil Eriksson said in a statement. "We can now transport people into a 360-degree world where they can explore and experience the next-generation luxury SUV, months before it's in dealerships."

The new app is available now on Android, with an iOS version to follow soon.  

While Volvo notes that the app can be used with or without Google Cardboard, adding a Cardboard kit will give car fans the more "immersive" experience.

"With Cardboard, we want to inspire and encourage the creation of immersive digital experiences," said Andrew Nartker, Product Manager for Google Cardboard. "We're excited to see Volvo build and share their own unique experience at the LA Auto Show using Cardboard."

The XC90, which is scheduled to go on sale next year, will compete in its segment with the 2015 Acura MDX, Buick Enclave and Infiniti QX60, according to Edmunds.com.

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