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UNIT9 Creates AR-enhanced Lotus Aeroad Central Feature at Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Building on Goodwood’s famous tradition of creating an iconic Central Feature for each festival, this year’s iteration uses AR to elevate the experience and engage global audiences

UNIT9 Creates AR-enhanced Lotus Aeroad Central Feature at Goodwood Festival of Speed

From today (8th July 2021), both in-person visitors and virtual viewers can enjoy the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s famous Central Feature because innovation studio UNIT9 has turned the installation into a smartphone-friendly hybrid experience with an augmented reality (AR) twist.

With British automotive company, Lotus Cars, as this year’s Central Feature partner, the physical sculpture launches Lotus’s new Emira model and is inspired by the marque’s all-electric Evija super car. The Lotus Aeroad sculpture, measuring 50 metres in length and 22 metres in height, mirrors the shape and aerodynamic design of the classic Lotus Evija ‘rooster tail’ and features the longest cantilever of its kind in the world.

In keeping with Lotus founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of 'simplify, then add lightness', the sculpture employs the engineering concept of Tensegrity - a structural principle where tension and opposing forces create exceptionally strong and rigid structures with minimal mass - and is enhanced with an AR layer to elevate the experience.

By downloading the Lotus Aeroad iOS or Android app, in-person attendees can use the AR app to transform the sculpture into a dramatically curved race track that brings-to-life the Lotus Elise, Evore, Exige and, most excitingly, the brand-new Lotus Emira as it zooms around the feature in a key launch moment for the brand. At-home digital viewers can view the entire structure in AR, scaling it to fit their environment wherever they are in the world.

The festival’s impressive annual Central Feature sculptures traditionally celebrate a major automotive marque or manufacturer through art. Representing the festival’s progressive nature, 2021 marks the first time since 1997 that the Central Feature has been designed by a new team.

Commenting on the change in design team, the owner of the Goodwood estate, the Duke of Richmond, said: ”With UNIT9’s assistance we have transformed the Central Feature into a future-facing experience that connects with visitors and remote viewers on a deeper level.  Augmented reality is an established and proven technology and Lotus Aeroad demonstrates that Goodwood is an innovator in visitor experience, always giving people something new, but at the same time keeping it accessible.”

Kate Lynham, creative director at UNIT9, added: “As someone who trained as an architect, seeing this project come to life has been a dream come true. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be a part of creating something this monumental, something built of this scale and ambition. It represents everything I love about my job, the ability to bring the latest AR technology to an architectural sculpture.”

The Lotus Aeroad app is available to download here.


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Client: Goodwood Festival of Speed

Brand partner: Lotus Cars

Digital innovation and production partner: UNIT9

Categories: Events, Sports and Leisure

UNIT9 London, Thu, 08 Jul 2021 13:30:53 GMT