Toyota is utilizing Oculus Rift for a new initiative meant to teach people the dangers of distracted driving. This isn’t your average driving course; by using the immersive VR technology, educators are hoping to make roadways of the future safer. That means less texting and driving, and hopefully fewer auto-related injuries and deaths.
Dubbed TeenDrive365, the new program will challenge participants to navigate a busy city street while addressing a series of common distractions, including traffic noises, changing the radio, texting and more. In such a hyper-connected world, it’s easier than ever to get distracted from the road in front of us, and that’s piled onto the typical hazards of everyday driving. Look down at your phone for a split-second and it could spell disaster.
That’s all part of the test, too. Lose focus and participants will see what could happen. We’ve seen first-hand how immersive experiences can be using Oculus, and Toyota is hoping that realism leaves a lasting impact. It’s a scare tactic, but certainly very important for people to understand.
“Oculus Rift provides a virtual reality driving experience that mirrors real life behind the wheel, giving us a powerful, one-of-a-kind way to show parents and teens how everyday distractions can affect their ability to drive safely,” said Marjorie Schussel, Corporate Marketing Director for Toyota.
Toyota says it wants both parents and kids to get involved with the new project, because studies have found that a parent’s driving habits can have a direct influence on how a teen will behave behind the wheel. If you want to participate in Toyota’s Oculus experience, the simulator will be traveling to auto shows across the country throughout the year.