Toyota Puts Oculus Virtual Reality in Teen Driving Campaign

Jan 15, 2015 05:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Toyota is using virtual reality to help teenagers learn safe driving through a partnership with Oculus Rift, developing the TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulator as part of a national campaign.

With a headset from Oculus VR, the virtual reality startup purchased by Facebook last year, new drivers can practice navigating the road while not getting too distracted by traffic noises, the radio and even virtual "friends" occupying the vehicle.

"Oculus Rift provides a virtual reality driving experience that mirrors real life behind the wheel, giving us a powerful, one-of-a-kind way to show parents and teens how everyday distractions can affect their ability to drive safely," Marjorie Schussel, corporate marketing director for Toyota, said in a statement.

The startup's technology gives users a 3-D view with depth and scale that mimic the way your eyes see the real world, while the high-tech audio system gives would-be drivers a sense of distance and movement.

Facebook paid $400 million in cash plus 23.1 million of its company shares to acquire Oculus VR in a $2 billion acquisition deal that closed in March.

Toyota launched the new driving simulator at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week and will be taking the system around the country. Check out the event here to see if the Oculus Rift simulator will make it to your neck of the woods.

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