Training student drivers more safely thanks to Virtual Reality

Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen will investigate how future drivers can be trained more safely with the help of Virtual Reality. Young, novice drivers are disproportionately often involved in road accidents. Virtual Reality (VR) has recently been introduced to experience relevant, complex traffic situations more quickly. How can these existing products, which are still in their infancy, be further improved?

More experience with risky traffic situations

Under pressure from the market, the number of driving lessons prior to the practical exam, has decreased in recent years. Pupils often master the theory insufficiently, which leads to a lot of practical exercise being devoted to explanation. The limited time left often creates insufficient opportunity for driver trainers to present potentially risky situations with sufficient complexity to train higher order skills such as traffic insight, risk awareness and self-assessment. A promising possible solution is to use 360 degree video in Virtual Reality, or video VR for short. Vehicle control and traffic insight can be disconnected, while users do experience a real traffic situation.

Chris Dijksterhuis, Senior Researcher at Hanze University of Applied Sciences, explains: “This offers students the opportunity to improve the integration between theory and practice. Driving trainers can also better adapt the training to the individual level and learning pace of students. But don’t forget that gamification can increase motivation and thus lead to better results.

Game technology

For this reason, Hanze University of Applied Sciences is starting a project to improve VR products for driver training, together with start-up DRI-VR and driving school Roordink. The main goal of the project is to gain insight into how combinations of video VR and game technology can add value to driver training. This is still barely explored in the industry and offers a great opportunity for innovation within both the creative and driver training sector. Commercial feasibility and the search for a suitable business case are an essential part of this.

This project focuses on solutions to be able to train on traffic situations safely and at an individual level. In this way it contributes to a higher starting level of novice drivers, which is essential for road safety. This project is thus in line with the ambition of ‘zero road casualties’ of the collaborating industry associations, the Alliance Samen Sterk, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management“, says Chris.

Internship assignment

Are you a student and do you want to help young drivers to drive more safely? You may be interested in the internship assignment that Hanze University of Applied Sciences offers within this project. Check out this link for more information.