Buying a car sight unseen can be risky business. If a particular vehicle isn't out yet, however, you'll have to make do with photos on the internet. Nissan and Microsoft aim to change that with the Pathfinder Experience, which lets consumers virtually explore the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder before its fall 2012 release date using Kinect for Windows motion-sensing tech.
Nissan debuted the Kinect-powered program at this year's New York and Chicago auto shows as a substitute for a physical car, which wouldn't begin production until later. Using Kinect's motion-sensing capabilities, the program tracks gestures, and allows users to explore the crossover's interior and exterior through a series of specific movements, including extension of the hands, stepping forward and backward, and leaning side to side. The virtual experience is similar to the digital showroom Audi set up earlier this year, which uses touch-screen tech instead ofmotion control.
The Pathfinder Kinect Experience will roll out in 16 Nissan dealerships in 13 states and run until the end of November. Each dealer is equipped with a Windows-based computer, TV, Kinect kiosk, and all hardware and software necessary for the install. Nissan says this pilot program paves the way for broader use of the virtual showroom tech, and that if it's successful, the automaker may expand the Kinect-based experience to its 1100 U.S. dealerships. Though the technology is no substitute for actually driving the car, being able to virtually tour the cabin of a car that's months away from production could sway your purchasing decision. Watch the video below to see the Pathfinder Kinect Experience in action.