Microsoft Kinect puts shoppers inside virtual Nissan

Microsoft Kinect puts shoppers inside virtual Nissan
Nissan is using flat screens and Microsoft's Kinect for Windows technology to allow its customers to interactively explore a vehicle before it hits showrooms across the US. The automotive manufacturer has harnessed the power in Kinect's Natural User Interface (NUI), to enable shoppers to hop into a virtual 2013 Pathfinder and explore the SUV using motion and natural human gestures.

"'Kicking the tires' is a critical step in a consumer's car buying process. People want to see the cars first. It's a visceral thing. See it. Touch it. Drive it," said Jon Brancheau, vice president of marketing for Nissan North America. "But what happens if the dealer doesn't have that ‘dream car’ on the lot, or that car has not been produced yet? How many sales are left on the table when they can't put their customer in the desired car, and make the critical physical connection to close the deal?"

Nissan will roll out the Pathfinder Kinect Experience - which incorporates a Kinect for Windows-based kiosk, a computer, a TV and essential hardware and software - to 16 Nissan dealerships across 13 states.

The manufacturer debuted the system at the 2012 New York and Chicago Auto Shows to reveal the redesigned Pathfinder. Nissan had no physical car to showcase so deployed the application on a big screen. Based on the success of the deployment using Kinect for Windows, Nissan decided to take the experience to its dealerships.

"Nissan is one of the first automakers to use Kinect for Windows technology in its dealerships. We are committed to driving innovation not only in the design of our vehicles, but also in how we go to market," said Brancheau. "The Pathfinder application using Kinect for Windows is a game changer in terms of the way we can engage with our customers. We're taking our marketing to the next level, creating experiences that enhance the act of discovery, and generating excitement about new models before they're even available. It's a powerful pre-sales tool that has the potential to redefine the way consumers think about the dealer experience."

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