At this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Toyota used virtual reality to highlight the very real dangers of distracted driving. By partnering with Oculus Rift, the automaker was able to provide both parents and teens with the TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulation.
Taking the driver’s seat in a stationary Toyota, participants don the headset provided by Oculus Rift and set off on an adventure through busy city streets. While using the car’s steering wheel and pedals, the driver is challenged with safely navigating the course amidst myriad distractions, including virtual passengers, text messages, radio, and even traffic noises.
Throughout the course, drivers are challenged to stay focused on the road or get a first-hand look at the consequences of becoming distracted behind the wheel.
“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 Toyota’s corporate marketing director, Marjorie Schussel. “This is the most innovative example of how we’re helping teens and parents become safer drivers together through our ongoing Toyota TeenDrive365 initiative.”
Eighty percent of participants acknowledged they would reduce the number of distractions while driving as a result of the simulation.
The simulator will be available at auto shows around the U.S. throughout the year. We at Lancaster Toyota hope it is an experience that reaches thousands of drivers, young and old. Can you imagine how it might impact our roads?