2 February 2018

Virtual Reality at the wheel


How virtual reality is applied to driving: from driving school for teenagers to training licensed drivers.


Speaking of virtual reality makes famous films such as Matrix or some videogames from the recent past immediately come to mind. However, we are undeniably immersed in the era of Virtual Reality.

The World Health Organization predicts that the fifth main cause of death in 2030 will be due to road accidents. In order to counter this staggering statistic, on one hand efforts are being made to improve roads and design safer transport systems, on the other to integrate the quest for greater road safety through the support of virtual reality.

In order to help young people drive and contribute to the training of a new generation of more reliable and competent drivers, some organizations are setting up driving simulators based on virtual reality, offering an avant-garde practical experience.

Seeing traffic with fresh eyes

[Photo credit:www.gettyimages.it]


One of these programs is TEEN D.R.I.V.E, a software that can reproduce the experience of distracted driving to make the risks caused by imprudent behavior, such as using the phone, more tangible.

The driving simulators have also proven particularly useful for children with special needs, such as those with autism. In fact, virtual reality is able to compensate for their real lack of attention, bringing them closer to subjects and experiences that would otherwise be distant and incomprehensible, such as safely crossing the street.

The era of self-driving cars is around the corner.

Such vehicles require an incredible compute power. In fact, the car must be able to perceive the world in detail and process millions of data in just a few seconds thanks to highly sensitive sensors in order to interact with all its surroundings in real time and consider all the possible variables. For this purpose, the CEO of Nvidia has recently announced the creation of Drive PX Pegasus, a computer with an unprecedented 320 TOPS, designed specifically for self-driving cars.

Empty cockpit of autonomous car, HUD(Head Up Display) and digital speedometer. self-driving vehicle.

[Photo credit: www.gettyimages.it]


Although technology is making giant leaps yet to be defined, the legislative aspects of self-driving cars and the adaptation of urban infrastructure to the new transport system is being defined.

However, virtual reality is certainly not just driving simulators.

All the leading hi-tech brands are working to make this type of experience more accessible and closer to consumers. Such as the Happy Meals at McDonald’s that now transform into truly economic VR headsets: just fold the cardboard and insert your smartphone to have access to virtual reality. Or Shadow, the sweatshirt created by Artefact, which lets people wearing it have an innovative and engaging virtual reality experience: for the moment it is still a concept, but it could be real soon!

Or even vTime, the first mobile VR sociable network created by the English company Starship, where the users’ avatars can interact with friends in virtual places.

Consumer wears VR glasses and plays game at home

[Photo credit: www.gettyimages.it]


Even PlayStation has made the leap and launched its PlayStation VR, the virtual reality headset that is fully functional with the famous game that entertains players by transporting them to new worlds.