New Toyota VR simulator coaches teen drivers to fight off distractions

  • AFP
  • Updated: Jan 16, 2015 13:08 IST

On Wednesday at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota launched TeenDrive365, a virtual reality headset from Oculus Rift that simulates distracted driving in the interest of educating young drivers.

The headset works when the user puts it on behind the wheel of a parked Toyota and finds himself on a three-dimensional, virtual street full of mayhem.

Using the Toyota's steering wheel and pedals, it's up to the user to navigate safely while avoiding distractions or face the consequences of his inattention in a world that's -- thankfully -- virtual.

Far from a video game, the simulator confronts users with the kind of distractions to which they could potentially succumb in real life such as text messages, the radio and their passengers.

To imitate real life, the technology enables 360-degree head tracking that follows the user's head during even the slightest turn.

It's not like going to the movies, either.

The TeenDrive365's simulator's 3D setting is presented using technology that makes it as natural and realistic as possible while 3D audio contributes to creating an immersive experience.

While the simulator is new, TeenDrive365 is a comprehensive initiative launched in November 2013 to improve the skills of young drivers.

The simulator is making its way across the US to serve a maximum of teens free of charge.

To find out when it will be headed your way:

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