RSA to research effectiveness of VR technology

12.00 | 31 January 2017 |

New research into the effectiveness of 360 virtual reality (VR) videos in road safety interventions will get underway next month, Road Safety Analysis (RSA) has announced.

In the study, which has been commissioned by Safer Roads Humber, RSA will evaluate the psychological and physiological effects that take place when viewing differing types of content through the 360 VR headsets.

Described as a ‘new and innovative method of delivering content at interventions’, VR technology is gaining in popularity among the road safety community. Much of this is due to an increase in its affordability and commercial application, as well as the quality of material that can now be displayed through it.

RSA adds that although 360 degree video doesn’t fall into the category of virtual reality, but rather immersive content, it is commonly referred to as VR.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is one of the organisations embracing VR for road safety purposes. In June 2016, LFRS announced it would use the technology to help deliver the next stage of its ‘Fatal Four’ road safety campaign (pictured).

LFRS says its ‘Virtual Reality Fatal 4 – 360 (VF4 360)’ gives young drivers the ‘most realistic experience’ of a road traffic collision from the front seat passenger’s perspective.

The technology incorporates 360 degree filming and is designed to show young drivers the dangers of the roads and what can happen if things go wrong. Users wear a virtual reality headset and experience a full crash scene extrication from the arrival of the emergency services, while being talked through the process by a paramedic.

However, RSA says very little is currently known about the effects and effectiveness of VR when used in road safety interventions.

The study will get underway next month, with results expected in March and the full report available a short time thereafter.

For more information about the study contact Steve Ferris at Road Safety Analysis.

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