How VR Can Make Us Safer Drivers and Better People
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
We've been asked many times about the possibility of creating driving sims, and whether they could be used to improve our skills. There's a large body of literature out there showing that virtual reality can trigger the same mirror neurons as the activity it simulates, strengthening the neural pathways that make these activities second nature. We also know that virtual reality can help establish connections between the mind and body in physical therapy as well as reduce pain in tasks. Finally, we know that the social benefits of 'walking a mile in another's skin' via VR allow us to build empathy for others, which can in turn change our perceptions about ourselves.
Virtual Reality can do a lot, but can it make us safer drivers? We've been working on a solution with the goal of increasing driver safety. Here's a quick look at the proximity feature in our solution that helps bus drivers better identify their distance safe zone.
We are excited to be driving change in training practices with solutions like these. Our London branch has already implemented driving training simulators with Highways England that you can read more about here.
One thing to look at in the future is the crossroads of safety training with empathy training. A study alluded to above has participants inhabit the body of Albert Einstein as they solved cognitive challenges. The impact of this study showed not only greater confidence in one's cognitive ability, but also greater cognitive performance. The study also helped to reduce stigma towards the elderly.
With this logic, seeing yourself in a labcoat with safety gloves may help folks become cognisant of healthy practices.
At MXTreality we are always trying to incorporate such findings into our solutions. The questions we are asking ourselves now is not can VR make us safer drivers, it can, but can we also create more empathetic drivers at the same time? Furthermore, can we create safer drivers by embodying the ideal driver to the same effect of the embodiement of Albert Einstein avatar increasing cognitive ability?
This is one of many golden opportunities in virtual reality. Let us know your thoughts on the topic. And tell us who would be the ideal driver avatar to embody?