Audi’s New Virtual Office Program Sure Looks Like the Second Coming of Second Life
It’s like a European OEM simulator, if you work at Audi and are into that sort of thing.
Audi likes to pride itself on innovation—few car companies don't—and in these trying, socially distant times, that can mean effectively developing a system where employees recreate themselves as The Sims and wander around a virtual office.
If that seems bleak (and it does, there's no way around it) then it's not intended that way. Audi Spaces was built by Audi Akademie to create more natural and spontaneous interaction, allowing employees to be in a virtual office together in some capacity without the direct intensity of a video call.
With apparently more than 4,000 Audi employees already using the system, it has some way to go to match Second Life's 900,000 users or, presumably, the latter's extensive selection of office-inappropriate virtual outfits. But Audi says it's a success, with users saying it's a less tiring way to communicate than video conferences while "reinforcing the feeling of community" which heaven knows, all of us need at this point.
Is it dystopian to have created a vicarious, fantasy office whereby you can meet with all your colleagues worldwide? Yes. Is it really tempting to make jokes about Mercedes relaunching Habbo Hotel and BMW having a Club Penguin reboot in the works? Also yes.
But we live in dystopian times and six million people use Club Penguin now, apparently. Besides, Audi has a lot of research divisions you might not know about, like its entire team of people who smell things and presumably might be able to make this an even more immersive experience if the current situation continues.
And Audi does take the virtual world and your place in it very seriously—after all, its Formula E team fired Daniel Abt for using a sim racing stand-in during a charity tournament last year.
Got a tip? Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE TO READ
The First Totaled 2021 Audi RS6 Avant Is Here, And It’s For Sale
If you take this project on, you’re a brave, brave soul. Or a YouTuber.
Audi Is Leaving Formula E to Compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally With an EV Instead
The automaker might also be making a return to endurance prototype racing at venues like Daytona and Le Mans.
Audi Design Students Imagine the Ultimate RS6 GTO Racing Wagon
It pays homage to Audi’s iconic 90 Quattro IMSA GTO from 1989.
The 684-HP Audi RS E-Tron GT Is a Powerful Start to Audi’s Electric Future
Eventually, all RS Audis will go electric—this new flagship is our first taste.