Ferris Productions, Inc., a Phoenix-based Virtual Reality (VR) company, in conjunction with General Motors, has developed a totally new way to promote technology in the automotive industry - the "Virtual Test-drive".

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000608/DATH039-b )
The concept of the "Virtual Test-drive" was created by Ferris for GM's 2000 Buick LeSabre "Drive with Confidence Tour". The tour will visit cities all across the U.S. continuing throughout the year.

Ferris' new "Immersive" Virtual Reality experience simulates a cross- country drive in the new Buick LeSabre. The premise of the trip is that the driver has picked up Buick - sponsored pro-golfer Ben Crenshaw at his New York hotel and must drive him to a California golf course for his tee time.

The eight minute ride places consumers in a "Catcher's Mitt" seat like those of the LeSabre while wearing virtual reality headsets integrated and designed by Ferris.

Filmed in 360-degree video, the driver experiences a seamless visual including conversations with passengers, narration and music from the car radio, sounds outside the car and even an aroma mechanism transmitting scents through the headgear that match the scenery. When Crenshaw remarks on the smell of fresh-cut grass, the scent of fresh-cut grass is released.

"We wanted to demonstrate the newly designed and re-engineered LeSabre in an exciting way, with a test drive as close to reality as possible; Ferris exceeded our expectations," said Marcus Vinson - Assistant Brand Manager, Marketing - Buick LeSabre - GM.

Barbara Wilson from Momentum Marketing was the brainchild behind this unusual new (VR) application designed for GM. "Ferris brought Virtual Reality cutting edge technology to a new level to achieve the caliber of product our client needed -- Ferris Delivered!"

Virtual Reality has come of age through Ferris Productions. The uses are as diverse as the imagination. In the future the world will see VR used for an unlimited range of applications including education, training, entertainment and simulation.

"This revolutionary technology is quite unique," said Lance Loesberg of Ferris Production, Inc. "Up until now, virtual reality images have been primarily computer generated. This new concept uses actual scenery filmed in 360-degrees." Since computers track each participant's movement, no two experiences are the same. Ferris' R & D is already well on its way to making the (real) virtual world interactive.

Ferris Productions, founded in 1993, is one of the world's leading creators and manufacturers of Virtual Reality (VR) products and systems for the entertainment, simulation, promotion and education industries. Ferris offers hardware and software applications for both interactive and non- interactive Immersive Virtual Reality Systems, to clients worldwide including Pepsi, GM, Six Flags, Paramount Parks, and IBM.

As a pioneer in VR, Ferris is always researching new and useful applications for this unique technology. For more information on Ferris Productions and virtual reality services, contact Lance Loesberg at 972-869-7655, email lance@FerrisVR.com or visit the company's website at www.ferrisvr.com.