In 2013 Toyota launched its TeenDrive365 initiative, designed to raise driving safety awareness for teenagers. The program includes online tools for people to study as well as local events to promote safety. Over a million people have visited the initiative’s website while others have taken a safe driving pledge. Now in its second year, the company will be adding a new set of features to TeenDrive365 including a driving simulator that uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD).
The company describes this unique software as an ‘enhanced in-car distracted driving simulator’. It will show users what common distractions can affect them as they drive, marking one of the first times that the Oculus Rift has been used for driving simulation, something that many have noted as an obvious application of the device in the past. The software will be touring the US, sitting users behind the wheel of a real Toyota vehicle for an immersive experience.
“We are thrilled that parents and teens responded so positively to TeenDrive365,” Toyota Corporate Marketing Director Marjorie Schussel said of the campaign. “Over the last year, we learned that once parents realize that they are the key to how their teen will drive, they crave support and guidance on how to be better role models. Our new resources are designed with this in mind and empower parents to be the drivers they want their teens to be so they can help keep them safe.”
It’s yet to be revealed where the experience will first be shown. Other additions to the program include a new video series, online pledge and a series of animated GIFs and picture-based riddle designed to promote road safety. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all applications of the Oculus Rift, reporting back with any further updates.