Hazard Perception VR: Testing and Training Hazard Perception in VR Headsets

What is the future of hazard perception testing and training? Several organisations are rushing to immerse drivers in 360-degree environments via virtual reality headsets, but is the hype around VR justified?

To evaluate the efficacy of VR hazard training and testing, we created two new hazard tests (one using computer-generated imagery and the other using naturalistic video). In a series of behavioural studies, we compared these VR tests to their single-screen equivalents, and found evidence to support their use. The VR tests were rated as more immersive and realistic, and were more likely to differentiate between safe and less-safe drivers.

In a subsequent training study, we found evidence for near-transfer of training, though more research is required to maximise training benefits. Overall, the research suggests that hazard perception testing and training in VR headsets is worth pursuing.

David Crundall, Professor of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

David Crundall is a professor of psychology at Nottingham Trent University, specialising in traffic and transport psychology.

He gained his PhD in 1999 investigating eye movements in novice drivers and has since published over 100 academic papers and book chapters in the field. He has conducted research on a wide range of driving-safety topics, working with the Department for Transport, the DVSA, EPSRC, ESRC, the Road Safety Trust, The RAC Foundation, and many corporate customers.

He is a member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety (Road User Working Group), the International Association of Applied Psychologists, and Transport Psychology International.