Simulation technology: Driving safer roads.
As kiwi drivers we generally head out on a road trip knowing what sort of challenges we’re likely to encounter, even if it’s the narrow road sections and twisting corners that seem to be a part of getting to most of New Zealand’s beautiful places.
Spare a thought though, for our overseas visitors who’ve just arrived in the country: completely different road rules, for many, switching to the opposite side of the road and for most, very different road safety challenges to what’s back at home.
That’s why we’re excited about the launch of a project that’s been three years and many hundreds of hours in the making: driver simulation software designed to assist overseas tourists to better navigate New Zealand roads.
The idea behind the simulation software is simple: give overseas drivers a way to adjust to New Zealand road conditions and practice their driving skills in a safe and risk-free environment.
The software behind the simulators however, is anything but simple – first envisioned and then driven by Rhys Gardner of CoDrivr, the launch is a massive milestone in a project that has required dogged determination through countless hours and huge technical challenges to develop the program from a vision to reality.
GoRentals is the first company to introduce the simulators, with the inaugural one launched in Queenstown this month. The simulator route takes tourists part of the way through the Crown Range road – one of the beautiful routes in the area and one that can present real challenges to overseas drivers with narrow switchbacks and very steep sections.
Overseas drivers are offered the chance to use the simulator when hiring a car, and can also fill out a questionnaire afterwards to determine how much they’ve learned. A rollout to other GoRentals branches is planned over the next 12 months.
We’re excited about the potential for the program to make a real difference to driving safety and we hope it won’t be long before every visitor who’s planning to explore New Zealand roads has the chance to hone their skills and adjust to the local conditions before they head out.
While the initial program has been rolled out to rental car operators, going forward we also expect to see the software developed for use in other training situations, such as training assistance for teenage learner drivers.
It’s a hugely significant development and one that we think is a genuine game changer for road safety. We’re excited to follow developments from here!