A City Tour turns into a “voyage” to the past:
What initially sounds like science fiction is now possible in Luxembourg City. Together with the city administration the Digital Devotion Group presented a future-oriented tourism solution on Tuesday. By wearing virtual reality glasses during a bus tour through the “Pfaffenthal” district, visitors will be able to experience the historical city core, as it was in the 19th century. The project „VR Timetravel“ is part of the „Smart City“initiative of the city of Luxembourg. „Virtual Reality puts us in the position to offer tourists a city expe-rience on a completely new level“, explains Prof. Matthias Pfaff, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer of the Digital Devotion Group based in Kaiserslautern and with an office in Luxembourg. The newly started pilot project „VR Timetravel“ shows how this works: With Virtual Reality technology, travelers can actually experience historical environments. They get to know the district of Pfaffenthal from a historical perspective by being chauffeured with a bus through its narrow streets.
Through their VR glasses participants of the tour experience life as it took place in Pfaffenthal during the 19th century – all with a fitting scenery: Functional buildings such as the barracks of Vauban, as well as private houses, have been merged using photos and state-of-the-art technology into a coherent virtual world. Even the bus adapts to the times by appearing as a carriage with its horses. Matching sound effect make the time travel even more authentic.
However, visitors who want to try the new attraction must be pa-tient as long as the test phase of the pilot project lasts. Afterwards an expansion to other city districts for 2018 will be decided. Until then, further test drives with selected passengers are possible on request.
Luxembourg City becomes „Smart City“
The “VR Timetravel” project is part of the “Smart City” concept of the city of Luxembourg, aimed at residents and tourists, to improve the interaction and information transfer on a digital basis. A further tourism project with an Augmented-Reality-Application (AR) has already been released since one week. With the help of “en-hanced reality” information of physically existing motives are placed onto the camera image of a smartphone or tablet using an Android and iOS app called “VdL-AR”. At seven locations, like the Place Guillaume II or Place d’Armes for example, users can ac-cess old photos, historical films, or 3D maps.
The public transport system is part of another feature of the app, developed by the Digital Devotion Group in collaboration with the Luxembourg transportation agency.: Passengers can point their smartphone to a bus stop, whereupon the app automatically de-tects it and displays instantaneous real-time information about de-parture times, an interactive map, or short-term changes to travel routes. Purchasing tickets is also possible using the app.
Alexander Fridhi is enthusiastic about the “smart city” initiative: „Luxembourg is a pioneer in international comparison with the ap-proach of making digital innovations available to everyone in eve-ryday life.” Aside from “Vdl-AR”, “Smart City” includes other com-ponents such as the improved transparency of government proce-dures, regularly updated information on environmental influences or an expanded and free WiFi network in the city.