Ford Driving Skills For Life Combines VR And Simulation To Train Teen Drivers

ROYAL OAK – For the past 15 years, Ford Motor Company has run what it calls its Ford Driving Skills for Life, an educational program developed and underwritten by Ford and the Governors Highway Safety Association, that uses Virtual Reality technology to engage teenagers and realistically scenarios they may encounter while behind the wheel.

Kyle Green, Coordinator, International and Special Programs at Ford Motor Company Fund, joins M2 TechCast to explain the program and the results it has achieved. In its fifteenth year, the program provides behind-the-wheel, online, classroom and virtual training to new drivers in 40 countries around the world. The key focus areas of the training is around the inexperience of new drivers as well as key skills in vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed and space management along with special programming for impaired and distracted driving.

More information can be found at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

Training with Technology:

The base of the Ford DSFL curriculum is an online training tool called The Academy. This was designed with responsive web design to reach mobile and tablet users.

  • In last 12 months – 48% of the visitors to www.drivingskillssforlife.com were from mobile and tablet – Mobile represents 42%
  • Same time frame in 2013 – 16% mobile and tablet – Mobile was only 10%

Virtual Reality – Ford DSFL is developing new virtual reality training tools to help new drivers navigate traffic circles, drive around large trucks, and experience on-road/off-road recovery.

The program also simulates impairment utilizing augmented reality in a virtual reality headset.

The team worked with Google UK to develop “Ford Reality Check”, a virtual storyline focused on distracted driving utilizing Google Pixel and Google Daydream.

Impairment simulation through special suits – Ford DSFL also uses unique Drunk and Drugged Driving suits and a new Hangover suit to build awareness of impaired driving with the teens and young drivers in its hands-on driving programs.  (Infographics available)

Virtual Assembly – Ford DSFL conducted a live assembly from the Ford Rouge Factory that reached 5,000 students in classrooms around the country. Key discussions were around impaired and distracted driving and safe driving during prom season.

To learn more about this fascinating combination of VR and education, click on https://soundcloud.com/podcastdetroit/m2techcast-episode-112-kyle-green-ford-driving-classes