Facebook is expanding the test of its Project Aria glasses with a new partnership with BMW. As part of the partnership, BMW will get a handful of Facebook's Project Aria research glasses, which the carmaker will test near Facebook's Mountain View campus.
"We think that AR glasses could eventually help drivers navigate their surroundings," the company stated in a blog post Thursday. "Before we can get there, partners like BMW are interested in exploring how AR technology could integrate into tomorrow's vehicles."
It's worth noting that the Project Aria device tested by BMW doesn't offer a fully immersive AR experience. Aria glasses are equipped with cameras and other sensors, but not screens. Facebook first announced Project Aria at its Connect conference in 2020. "The point of it is to gather data sets from the point of view of the human head, which will help us hopefully figure out what sensors we need," said Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth at the time.
Facebook is looking to minimize any potential backlash against this type of data collection by scrubbing video recordings to blur faces and other identifying features. The same is true for any footage captured by BMW's employees; in addition, BMW will put stickers on the cars it is using to test Aria to inform bystanders that video is being recorded.
Facebook also announced Thursday that it would expand Project Aria tests in the coming months, bringing the total number of devices used to 3,000.