15 Jan Toyota uses Oculus Rift Virtual Reality for Safety
By Chris Woodyard, USA Today
Driving simulators aimed at teaching safety to teens have been around forever, but at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Toyota is showing a distracted-driving device teens might actually consider cool.
It’s the TeenDrive365 distracted-driving simulator that uses Oculus Rift, the virtual reality system.
While past safety demos were typically held in arcade-style drivers’ seat mockups in front of screens, TeenDrive365 uses an actual car. It encourages teens to get behind the wheel of a stationary Toyota while wearing the Oculus Rift headset. Then, Toyota says, they are “fully immersed in a virtual reality driving experience, complete with the three-dimensional sights and sounds of a busy city street.”
The system uses the cars’ steering wheel and pedals. Users encounter distractions like traffic noise, a blaring radio, text messages. Of course, there are a few virtual friends along for the ride, bugging the driver from the back seat.
“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,” says Marjorie Schussel, Toyota corporate marketing manager.