Young learner drivers now have a virtual reality app to help practise important tasks such as spotting hazards.
The Drive VR app aims to help young New Zealanders gain experience and confidence at critical driving tasks such as observation skills.
People can download the free app onto their mobile device. It’s best used with Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets for a more immersive experience– thousands of these are being given away on the Drive website.
Drive VR gives learner drivers a taste of using their observation skills as they are required to do in practical driving tests, but in virtual reality. It can be used anywhere with their personal device – including at home or in the classroom.
They will be challenged to spot hazards, check blind spots and mirrors, and look out of windows—all from a virtual driver's seat. Observation skills are tracked, so learners can keep improving on their high score.
Drive VR is made by Government agencies ACC and the NZ Transport Agency. It is part of the Drive programme that helps young people learn what they need to for every step of the licence process – from the learner licence theory test all the way through to getting their full licence.
““From speaking to hundreds of young Kiwis, we know that many of them feel daunted by driving practical tests and freeze up when it comes to doing them in real life,” says ACC Road Injury Prevention Manager, Dr. Simon Gianotti.
“We also know drivers who are more aware of others on the road and who are better at spotting hazards are safer drivers," he says.
“We wanted to help them feel more comfortable behind the wheel by giving them the opportunity to practise their observation skills from the comfort of their own home. Nothing replaces real life practice but this new VR experience is an incredible tool in helping prepare safe, skilled young drivers.”
Since launching in July 2016, Drive has seen learners complete 52,000 online road code chapter tests between them.
Drive provides young learner drivers with interactive resources to prepare for the learner, restricted and full driver licences. It is produced with driving experts and has the aim of making young drivers more safe and confident. It is accurate, trustworthy and fair.
Drive VR is the latest tool to reach learner drivers, says Dr. Gianotti.
“By developing the Drive VR experience, we’re first and foremost targeting young people: digital natives who’ve grown up with technology. Regardless of learning styles or age, everyone benefits from putting themselves in immersive test situations.”
ACC and the NZ Transport Agency hope to continue to develop and improve Drive VR to create an even better learning experience for young drivers.