An increasing number of car manufacturers are turning to virtual reality (VR) to help with car sales. Reports have shown that customers are keen to ‘try before they buy’ when it comes to buying a new car, so companies such as Mazda and BMW have been offering VR test drives. Ford are getting in on the act with a driving experiences at its Gamescom stand.
Ford are offering a performance ride alongside racing driver Harry Tinckness in a Ford Focus RS. The experience lets attendees sit in a Focus RS and race around the famous Formula One venue the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps through the power of an Oculus Rift headset. The experience forms part of a competition, where attendees are challenged to beat the lap time set by Harry Tinckness. Those who manage to set the fastest times will be offered a real-life racing experience, where they will be flown by helicopter to try out the Ford Focus RS on the track for real, complete with expert coaching from Tinckness.
Also available from Ford at Gamescom is a driver training experience that used the Google Daydream. In a slightly ironic twist for an experience offered using smartphone-powered VR, the driving app points out avoidable driving hazards, such as using your phone whilst driving. The second experience on Google Daydream is similar to other VR and augmented reality (AR) apps that have been offered to improve road safety, both for children and adults.
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Update: This article mistakenly mentioned that the experience was on an HTC Vive headset when it is on an Oculus Rift. VRFocus apologises for the error.