Step aside Apple. Archer Aviation just raised the bar for product launches leveraging immersive XR technology.
With sights set on propelling forward the next big revolution in transportation, startup Archer Aviation wanted an equally awe-inspiring event to launch its groundbreaking demonstrator aircraft, Maker, to the world.
Maker looks like a sleek hybrid between a helicopter and a small aeroplane, what’s technically known as an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. It can take off and land like a helicopter (without any of the noise), and fly forward like an aeroplane. Fully battery operated, it can travel a range of 60 miles at speeds of 150 mph. The intention is for these crafts to form an affordable fleet of air shuttles, ferrying passengers to and fro across cities, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and putting urban exploration in easy reach.
Equally impressive, and ambitious, was the launch event. Short of taking the whole audience along for a ride on the craft itself, which at the date of launch was still in the process of attaining the necessary certification, the next best thing was to create a fully immersive experience of flying in Maker. To do this, Archer employed some of the latest and greatest tech currently in use in video production. Yes, we’re talking XR (extended reality). In case you’re not familiar, XR is an exciting and dynamic new tech that’s essentially also a hybrid in nature, comprising augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. It’s at the forefront of immersive tech, the stuff sci-fi fantasies are made of, and it’s rapidly being developed for mainstream adoption.
While it might look like a stationery craft suspended in front of an LED screen, it’s so much more. With the help of agencies Elevator (lead agency) and PGR Events (creative and technical production partner), an empty aeroplane hangar was converted into a stage with a massive 3D LED screen where the XR visuals came to life, paired with binaural sound, live musicians, state-of-the-art lighting design, complete with what else but a curtain drop unveiling the Maker craft on stage. Take a look.
One of the biggest barriers for most current immersive tech, is the fact that it requires the use of pretty bulky headsets. XR doesn’t require any of that. Which means, in terms of an immersive experience, there’s one less hoop for your brain to jump through. This results in a brain-breaking, fully immersive experience for the audience.
Tailoring to both a live real-world and a virtual audience is now a pre-requisite. While there was a live audience, a major part of the production was broadcast for people to watch remotely to which XR provided the perfect solution. In the world of covid, it’s essential to consider how you’ll include your digital audience in a live event.
Until now, much of the XR tech-driven hype has been around its use on TV and film sets. This impactful and memorable launch by Archer is a first-class example of how this tech can be applied from a brand perspective, making the audience active participants in the brand’s world and its story. We can’t wait to see what other exciting immersive experiences are on the horizon with this technology. It’s yet another example of cutting-edge immersive tech breaking into the mainstream. If this sounds like something your brand could benefit from, reach out. The virtual sky is limitless.