Toyota’s new “distracted driving simulator”, was on display at the recent New York International Auto Show. The simulator uses the Oculus Rift VR headset to show users just how hard it is to drive safely when you are distracted by for example friends in the car asking you to check your text messages. The simulation also includes a low flying flock of birds, loud music, construction and sirens.
“Anything that takes your eyes off the road while you’re driving is considered a distraction,” said Marjorie Schussel, Toyota’s head of marketing to CBS news. “Even little things, like reaching down to pick up your bag, or changing the radio station, or opening up a cap on a bottle of water and taking a sip — I think people are surprised when they get into the distracted driving simulator that these distractions do take your eyes off the road and really impact they way that you’re going to drive.”
On the other side of the show floor, car manufacturer Chrysler also used the Oculus Rift to take the public on a virtual tour of its factory. Sitting a 2015 Chrysler 200C you’re placed inside a virtual vehicle and a soothing voice introduces you to the simulation and then takes you into the VR world of the Chrysler factory. In the simulation the car suddenly explodes into component pieces that then turn into an interactive VR menu.
Both Toyota and Chrysler have showed new ways of using VR. The usual way for companies that want to be part of the current VR hype, have been to construct a simple 360 video.