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20 Things You Didn't Know About WayRay

Augmented Reality

What do you know about the technology company known as WayRay? Did you know that it is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland after moving there from Russia in 2018? Well, you do now. We've listed twenty things you may or may not know about WayRay. Follow the list as we lay out the details of what you perhaps didn't know about this technology company.

1. Private Technology Company

WayRay is a privately owned company that specializes in the development of augmented reality (AR) technologies for connected cars. What this company designs are complex mechanics, electronics, holographic optical systems, and software. In December 2011, the idea of using AR became a portable-project collimator that was to be installed into the front panel of a vehicle. This is accomplished by using a thin holographic film on the windshield instead of the mirror system. This was used as a means to reduce the dimensions of the device. Spring 2012 saw the official presentation of this device for the first time.

2. Multiple Locations

There are five WayRay offices that are located around the world. Those locations are in China, Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United States of America. In Germany, thanks to the collaboration with Porsche, WayRay has a production site that works closely on their Startup Autobahn system. In addition to these locations, there is also a setup in Barcelona, Spain. The headquarters is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

3. Vitaly Ponomarev, Ph.D.

Vitaly Ponomarev is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of WayRay. According to him, the idea of using augmented reality on the windshield of the car came after he experienced an accident while he was distracted by a GPS navigator in his car. This concept was later supplemented by connecting to the internet which also used the mechanics of the social network. With interests in international technology, mobility, and biotech, his entrepreneurial skills have led WayRay to the pinnacle of success it has achieved so far. He is also the founder of Centaura, a research organization that intervenes against aging as a means to extend and improve a person's lifespan. In 2019, he graduated from Harvard Business School's Executive Education Program. It was while he was there he created Centaura and its gene therapies platform.

4. Intel Global Challenge Winner

WayRay won the Intel Global Challenge in October 2013, at the University of California, Berkley. That same year witnessed Business Insider recognizing the company as one of the eleven hottest startups in Northern Europe. According to East-West Digital News, this company was announced as one of the ten winners of the BIT Contest's Global Track program. BIT is the acronym for biotechnology. BIT is Russia's largest tech contest that encourages national and neighboring countries to participate in the collaborative effort to move forward in global improvement innovations.

5. Outstanding Innovator

In 2015, the French magazine, L'Hebdo, published in Switzerland recognized WayRay's CEO, Vitaly Ponomarev, as one of the one-hundred outstanding innovators of Switzerland.

6. Automotive Industry's New Star

In 2017, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, WayRay won the grand prize of the Top Ten Automotive Startups Competition. It was also in 2017 Wired Magazine included WayRay in its Top 10 Startups Racing to Remake the Auto Industry. In 2018, VentureBeat labeled the company as one of the seven promising tech startups about to shake up the automotive industry. In addition to earning prize money, this company was granted additional perks from the companies that were represented by the panel of judges. These perks included access to Microsoft Azure's cloud infrastructure, Nvidia Drive PX 2 AI. It also gained access to Elektrobit's software network for automated driving from Porsche Consulting.

7. Corporate Value

WayRay's initial capital has twelve million rubles which were used for the design of electronics that was ordered by DuPont. In 2017, Alibaba Group from China led an eighteen million dollar Series B round. As of September 218, the company raised another eighty million US dollars that were led by Porsche in the Series C round. This amount is equivalent to sixty-nine million EURO. Hyundai Motor, KVCKENWOOD also took part in the investment of WayRay and its corporate future. The union of these companies forms part of the Startup Autobahn innovation platform that has become a strategic development in future-oriented technology in the automotive industry. At the moment, WayRay has a corporate value of $500 million USD.

8. WayRay Element

One of the devices manufactured from the company's design team is called Element. It uses an accelerometer, Bluetooth, a gyroscope, and GLONASS/GPS modules to connect to the OBD-II port. From there, it collects all the details it needs to learn about the driver's behavior, as well as the vehicle's performance track record. That information includes the speed, fuel consumption, and current vehicle condition. All of this info is gathered and made available in digital form. There is a mobile application that will offer recommendations to improve driving skills, all based on the information it has collected. With it is an entertainment feature, Autoyoga, that is offered to guests.

9. WayRay Navion Navigator

The navigation system used by WayRay's Element device is called Navion Navigator. By using this holographic technology to form augmented reality, it features a projection system and a visor that has an embedded AR optical element. The compact size of this device can easily mount on the vehicle's dashboard and is gesture controlled. It has 3G, Bluetooth, and GLONASS/GPS modules. With its own mobile app, it also uses its own navigation software. In January 2018, it showed the Navion navigation system for the first time at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the same time, it also showed its development platform, the True AR SDK.

10. WayRay True AR SDK

True AR SDK is the AR framework that allows the integration of third-party developers. This allows for building different AR applications for vehicles that run on holographic displays. The app features virtual objects that are seamlessly integrated into the environmental surroundings of the vehicle. In February 2018, the company brought forth the True SDK Challenge, a competition that was seeking new developers to create AR applications for vehicles.

11. Holograktor

November 2021 saw the official launch of WayRay's Holograktor vehicle to show off the holographic technology. This was designed to replace the existing AR-related head-up display. The Holograktor comes from the True AR SDK technology that is trademarked to WayRay. It is designed as a new ride-hailing business model that offers a seamless connection as the first Metaverse device on wheels. The idea is the Holograktor will have a vehicle that can be either driven by human hands or by virtual-reality remote control. Making this happen is the Deep Reality Display technology that serves as a new generation to the True AR device where different parts of the virtual image on display can appear at different distances. According to Forbes Magazine, the Holograktor's ride-sharing concept car could disrupt the entire automotive interior design department.

12. Deep Reality Display

The Deep Reality Display technology is the first of its kind, advancing WayRay's True AR HUD and SDK devices to a performance level that allows VR image displays to appear at different distances from different angles. The intent behind this AR display is to make old-school dashboards a thing of the past. The idea is to use AR technology to reduce disparity errors that were a bit too commonplace with VR technology. For drivers, this helps their ability to stay focused behind the wheel. For passengers, this AR feature allows them to engage in opportunities to be entertained instead of succumbing to personal boredom.

13. Gamification

Through Deep Reality Display, the Gamification feature allows both the driver and passengers to immerse themselves in a digitally augmented world that lets them go into character as they interact with the world around them. The gaming content is designed to keep the driver focused on the road while the passengers engage in an activity that will reduce the boredom of just sitting in a vehicle with not much of anything else to do. How it works is the gaming objects will seem to appear organically in the car's real-time surroundings.

14. Corporate Connections

In 2015, WayRay formed a partnership agreement with Orange Business Services, a provider of telecommunications services. Through its French connection, the Navion Navigator has been providing wireless connection and maintenance to its products that have been sold in the US. While at the CES-2017 show, the company and US automotive electronics manufacturer, Harman International Industries, formed a strategic partnership to integrate their business models together as a solution for automakers. While at the 2017's exhibition, the Swiss-based company, Rinspeed, presented its autonomous concept car, Oasis. Its infotainment system was equipped with WayRay's AR device. In 2018, WayRay and Honda collaborated together for the CES Asia show in Shanghai. Through the Honda Xcelerator Showcase, it was publicly presented the holographic AR display prototype designed for the Asian market. this led to a Banma Technologies joint venture between Alibaba Group and China's SAIC Motor as a partner to WayRay as they work on Asian-based carmakers on their behalf. While at 2018's Startup Autobahn hosted by Daimler AG and Plug and Play, the company announced its joint pilot with Porsche. From that show, it won the People's Choice Award in the AR/VR category. In addition to these key partnerships, WayRay also works with several automakers.

15. AGP eGlass Partnership

Teamed with WayRay as partners in the AR technology used to improve upon a motorist's experience features AGP eGlass. It is one of the world's leading high-tech glazing manufacturers in the automotive industry. This partnership enables the integration and industrialization of lamination and holo-recording technology.

16. Covestro Partnership

Covestro is one of the world leaders in high-tech polymer materials. Partnered with WayRay, it has been focusing on the development of new photopolymer products for its augmented reality interface applications. This will be embedded into the windshields of passenger cars and other ground transportation devices. By using the Holographic Optical Element (HOE), Covestro's photopolymer film is completely transparent and can be laminated inside any windshield during the manufacturing process of a new vehicle.

17. Osram Group Partnership

Partnered with Osram Group, this world-class company uses automotive lighting technology in the development and production of RGB laser engines. With it, they use a high wavelength stabilization method that is integrated with specific AR HUD applications.

18. Employee Roster

Currently, there are over 250 employees who work for the company from the locations of China, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. At the moment, over 160 of them are listed on LinkedIn, along with what they're doing for the company and how long they've been with them. Since the 2012 startup, the roster of people that work for the company has grown substantially and the recruiting process continues.

19. Fan Following

On social media sites like LinkedIn, WayRay has over twelve thousand followers and growing. On Facebook, it also has over a fan following of twelve thousand. These sites are updated frequently, letting all those who pay attention know what the company's design team is up to next. The company also has accounts set up on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

20. WayRay Executive Team

According to Crunchbase, Vitaly Pomnomarev's company was founded in June 2012 under the legal name WayRay AG. It originally began in Moscow, Russia, before moving to Zurich, Switzerland. It still has an office in Moscow, along with strong connections to the nation's business sector. According to the profile info provided by PitchBook, the executive team of WayRay starts with the founder and CEO, Vitaly Ponomarev, Ph.D. His chief financial officer is Daniel Muller and his chief technology officer is Mikhail Svarichevsky. Alessandro Dini is the company's chief sales and marketing officer while Aleksandr Bobryshev serves as its chief design engineer.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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