Ford has partnered with Google and award-winning virtual reality (VR) studio Happy Finish to launch Ford Reality Check, a VR app that brings to life the potentially fatal consequences of driving while distracted.
The first-of-its-kind experience uses Google Daydream VR to cast you as a distracted driver picking up friends on the way to a party. Instant messages, phone calls and chatty passengers all compete for attention, sparking a series of near misses. The final distraction proves fatal – and you are to blame.
Latest European Commission data reveals that more than 3600 young people are killed in accidents on Europe’s roads every year and two-thirds are drivers. Ford Reality Check’s creators hope the educational app will help young people to develop safer driving practices.
The interruptions faced by drivers in Ford Reality Check are based upon the most prevalent and dangerous distractions for this age group, including those from smartphones and passengers. The app tracks the amount of time the driver doesn’t have their eyes on the road, displaying the total at the end.
In the app, the smartphone in the driver’s hand becomes a key interactive element. The handheld Google Daydream controller, a unique component of the Daydream VR platform, mirrors the behaviour and interactions of the virtual phone within the app, enhancing the sense of presence in the virtual world. Ford Reality Check is the first app for the Google Daydream VR platform aimed at educating young drivers.
In initial tests, 90 percent of those who used the app said they would change their driving behaviour after the experience. Ford Reality Check is expected to be made available from the Google Play Store at a later date.