Mercedes-Benz debuts new AR technology at US Open

Sports fans can take part in an interactive augmented reality (AR) tennis lesson with tennis star Sloane Stephens at this year’s US Open event in New York City.

Mercedes-Benz, a partner of the event, is debuting its technology at the Grand Slam competition, which runs until September 8. The same AR technology will be available next month at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta during the first Atlanta Falcons home game of the season featuring quarterback and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, Matt Ryan.

Mercedes-Benz developed a new kind of AR technology experience by capturing the style and play of 2017 US Open champion Stephens and translating the footage into AR features, with no mobile device target or facial recognition software needed.

To capture Stephens’ performance in high quality, Mercedes-Benz recorded the star in front of a green screen as an alpha-channel enabled video, which creates an illusion mimicking her real-life behaviours and motions.

To activate the game, guests approach the tennis court backdrop and verbally ask, “Hey Mercedes, teach me to play like Sloane,” and she will appear in the game. Mercedes-Benz said guests will be fully immersed in court side play with an untethered racquet in hand to experience a personalised one-on-one tennis lesson.

“We are proud to continuously offer new and emerging immersive experiences to fans and Mercedes-Benz customers and this year’s AR experience with Sloane at the US Open is one-of-a-kind,” said Monique Harrison, department head of brand experience marketing.

“Looking ahead, we are excited to continue developing technological advancements not only for the in-car experience, but beyond, allowing for new and existing fans to experience the innovation of Mercedes-Benz.”

The second phase of the AR rollout at Mercedes-Benz Stadium promises to be equally popular with sports fans.

“Combining AR video capture, voice controls, DMX integration and 4D environmental awareness, the activation is at the guests’ control, allowing each feature to independently operate yet come together for a cohesive experience that mirrors real life play,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said.