Toyota teams up with Oculus for VR driving lessons

Toyota and Oculus have announced the creation of a virtual reality driving simulator, which they hope will ease the passage for learner drivers.

The TeenDrive365 program will place Oculus Rift-toting teenagers behind the wheel of a stationary car and will present participants with all manner of visible and audible distractions and obstacles. As well as dealing with pedestrians and other road users, there’ll be simulated noise from fellow passengers, other road users, the radio, smartphone alerts and more.

Interestingly the program will integrate the new RealSpace 3D audio technology Oculus announced at CES 2015 last week. That will enable users to pinpoint the direction, distance and depth of the sound.

The program will also utilise Optimus’ 100-degree field of view which goes beyond human peripheral vision, Toyota says.

If drivers lose focus, they’ll “experience the consequences of distracted driving within the virtual setting,” the audio giant added in a press release (via Slashgear).

Learners will use the real steeling wheel and pedals while immersed in the 3D world, with the aim of easing the nerves some young drivers may feel when taking to the road for the first time.

Read more: Samsung Gear VR review

“Hopefully, you’ll come away a little wiser about what it takes to be safe behind the wheel,” Toyota added.

Those hoping to try the simulator will have to attend one the auto shows around the US where Toyota’s TeamDrive365 initiative has a presence.