Students from Singapore’s Zhangde Primary School try out ‘IM Road Safety Savvy’.
Road users will be able to get up close with dangerous traffic situations, without putting themselves at risk, with the help of several Virtual Reality (VR) initiatives.
Aimed at educating young pedestrians, drivers and motorcyclists, they were launched yesterday at the start of the Singapore Road Safety Month.
“Our efforts to improve road safety have to go beyond structural enhancements ... and beyond ensuring that drivers keep to speed limits and obey traffic rules,” said Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary (Home Affairs and Health), in a speech to launch the event at Nex shopping mall in Serangoon. “The use of VR will allow road users to experience dangerous situations without putting them in harm’s way,” he added.
The three VR immersive experiences that await road users during the campaign are the result of a collaboration among the Singapore Road Safety Council (SRSC), the Traffic Police (TP) and several partners.
One VR initiative, “IM Road Safety Savvy”, is a mix of 360° VR videos, designed to teach children road safety skills, and an interactive VR game which aims to provide a safe, controlled environment in which children can be taught pedestrian skills.
After putting on the VR gear, users are transported to different scenarios, where they learn different road safety messages. For instance, they may be transported to a pedestrian crossing setting, where they will be required to turn their heads to the left and right—as they will at an actual pedestrian crossing.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority had collaborated with the SRSC and TP to launch IM Road Safety Savvy.
Xavier Lim Kiat Wei, 12, described his first-time experience with VR as “very interactive and exciting. If you have to cross the pedestrian crossing, you’re actually really crossing the pedestrian crossing with this VR technology ... as if it’s happening in real life,” he said.
Eight-year-old Hoh Wen Jun said he will be more mindful when crossing the road after his VR experience.
“Usually when I cross the road, sometimes I raise my hand, sometimes I don’t,” he said. “But next time before I cross the road, I will definitely look left, look right, and look left, look right again, and raise my hand.”
Another VR initiative, “Eyes on the Road” by Samsung, offers users a first-hand perspective of the potential dire consequences of distracted driving.
“The use of VR technology to showcase these scenarios allows us as drivers and motorists to experience the dangers of distractions first hand,” said driver Daryl Seah, who had tried out “Eyes on the Road”.
“After experiencing for myself how a quick glance at my playlist can have dire consequences, I’ll be sure to stay focused on driving when my car is in motion,” added the 28-year-old marketing executive.
His sentiment was shared by undergraduate Amrit Singh Gill, 22, who has been driving for about one and a half years.
“On Singapore’s roads, with the congestion and all, you do get some near-misses. But with this (Eyes on the Road), you get the feeling of a near-miss and eventually an accident without actually being there,” he said.
Harley Davidson’s VR initiative, “Road Sensibility”, is aimed at reminding motorists and motorcyclists of the various safe riding measures that should be taken while encountering different road situations.
Members of the public can try out the VR experiences at the Singapore Road Safety Month’s booths at the level 1 atrium of NEX until May 28.
They will later be made available at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre, ComfortDelGro Driving Centre, Bukit Batok Driving Centre and at the Singapore Road Safety Community Park by 2018.