Google And Ford To Develop VR App To Combat Distracted Driving


    Ford has collaborated with Google, as well as virtual reality studio Happy Finish to launch Ford Reality Check, a VR app that focuses on the consequences of distracted driving.

    This technology uses Google Daydream VR to cast the user as a distracted driver picking up friends on their way to a party. Then, instant messages, phone calls and chatty passengers will all compete for your attention, leading to a series of near misses on the road.

    In the end, in an attempt to educate users, the final distraction is programmed to prove fatal, and the fault lies only with the driver.

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    “Being involved in a car crash can be a life-changing experience – and sadly, for too many young people, one that cuts lives tragically short. We hope that by providing a chilling glimpse of how easily this could actually happen, we will encourage young people to drive more safely,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life.

    “Virtual reality is the ideal medium to highlight the dangers of distracted driving to young motorists. This age group is more likely to engage with VR, and studies suggest immersive experiences in virtual worlds can positively influence behaviors in the real world too.”

    All the previously mentioned distractions and interruptions faced by users in Ford Reality Check are based on the most prevalent and dangerous distractions for this age group – most of which come from smartphones and passengers. The app will even track the amount of time the driver doesn’t have their eyes on the road, while the handheld Google Daydream controller mirrors the behavior of a virtual phone within the app.

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    After initial tests, Ford say that 90% of people who used the app said they would change their driving behavior after what they had experienced virtually.

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    Ford Reality Check will be on display at the Ford Driving Skills for Life events on the 17-19 November at the ExCeL. The app is also expected to be made available on the Google Play Store at a later date.

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