Will Leaning To Drive Become The Next Video Game Phenomenon?
Ever since people started pouring their quarters into video games in movie theaters and malls during the early 1980s these machines have become valuable sources of secondary income for all sorts of retail establishments. Many of those same movie theaters and malls still offer traditional per-per-play video games to their patrons, but they also offer all sorts of sophisticated technology driven experiences and attractions which include motion simulation rides and virtual reality games. Those games and attractions may soon be joined by ‘Learn To Drive’ virtual reality experiences that may actually be approved as Driver Education devices.
For years several major video game and virtual reality attractions companies have been working behind the scenes to develop a Driver Education virtual reality experience that U.S. States will accept as a means of training first time driver license applicants and retraining people who have been ordered to attend classes by traffic courts. According to several people I know in high tech development circles, the biggest stumbling blocks to making these experiences a reality have always been getting the approval of state governments who are always thirty or forty years behind the times in terms of technology. Considering the fact that many used voting machines in the last presidential election that they could barely get to work right, one can understand their skepticism about all things high tech.
Despite past problems with getting high tech Driver Education training programs even noticed let alone approved by the powers that be, the dismal economic conditions which continue to affect everyone have begun to make these programs attractive as money saving and money making ideas for cash strapped State governments and agencies. With many schools in the USA cutting driver education programs to save money and many States looking for ways to better manage driver education programs other than just using training provider companies, high tech solutions and anything else that will save and make money are now under serious consideration.
Imagine going to the local mall or movie theater for a virtual driving lesson? You purchase a card good for ten lessons (or more) and use the card each time you want to take a lesson. At the end of each lesson a short multiple choice test is given with the results stored in an account connected to your card. If you fail a lesson, you can purchase more lessons on your card until you finally pass all of them. When you complete all the lessons you head out to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office and present your card. If your score is consummate with the passing grade, you’re ready for a driving test and are just minutes away from getting your driver’s license.
People ordered to driving school by traffic courts can also benefit from that type of a virtual driver training program. Instead of attending a three or five hour class and getting a bunch of information jammed into their heads all at once, they could take court ordered driver training at their own pace. Courts would probably look very favorably on that type of program where participants would be tested after each lesson to be sure they learned everything. On top of all that, the court or municipality could claim a cut of the fees. The same would be true of the virtual education experience for new drivers. The State could get their piece of the pie.
Apart from getting States on board with various virtual driver training concepts, there are the insurance companies. If they like what they see and offer decent discounts to drivers who complete that type of training, the sky is the limit. Even if you are not a new driver or one ordered to take training by a traffic court, imagine the benefit of taking an insurance company approved virtual driver training course at your own pace that would save you money on your premium?
Insurance companies want people to be better drivers and already use technology as a means of judging their abilities. Small plug-in devices that monitor driver responses and habits are currently available from companies like Progressive. If the devices detect good driving techniques, the insured receives discounts on their policy premium. Adding virtual training to that scenario to save drivers and insurance companies money would be topping on the cake for all the parties involved.
I am sure that many auto makers can also fit into this virtual training scheme in one way or another. For example, new car dealers and auto financing companies could offer discounts on virtual driver training to help attract more customers. Major auto makers could offer some level of sponsorship for these programs in exchange for advertising. The profit possibilities for this type of driver training are endless.
The truth is that you will probably not see virtual driver training available in the form I have described in this article for some time, but it is on the horizon and I believe these types of training programs are the wave of the future. No one wants to admit it, but I believe that virtual training will someday replace many traditional public and private schools just as the Internet has affected how many people visit public libraries these days. Before that happens I do believe virtual driving lessons will come to a theater or mall near you.