When we first entered what some are inevitably referring to as the “age of virtual reality,” results were, if anything, somewhat underwhelming.
After years of hype surrounding the Oculus Rift and the concept of consumer VR devices, the early applications were neat, but not the sort of thing that might transform tech industries. Or at least, that’s how it seemed at a glance. A more accurate assessment, however, would be that virtual reality has already improved and branched out in some fairly enormous ways.
In gaming, VR spread out rapidly beyond a few clunky early demos we saw in late 2015 and early 2016. In a matter of months there were far more impressive games, reminiscent of excellent app and console experiences transferred to VR formats. VR then began to spread to the internet, taking on internet casino activity as well.
There, particularly in the massively popular slot arcade space, sites have long used promotions and bonuses to entice new and existing users to stick around and keep playing. Now, however, they rely on appealing graphics and exciting themes – which, they’re quickly finding, are all the more interesting in virtual reality. And even more recently we’ve seen high-end open world games moving into VR, and VR devices pairing with various controls and apparatuses to make gaming more immersive. Summing it all up, the industry grew quickly.
It’s not all about gaming though. While some of the above developments have perhaps helped to define the core of VR – which really emerged as a gaming technology before anything else – innumerable companies have been working on other applications for virtual reality as well. In fact it’s almost harder to find an industry that can’t make use of virtual reality these days than one that can. And one of the most interesting areas were starting to see VR used, in a broad sense, is education. Reading through a list of predictions for virtual reality from experts in tech, the co-founder of UploadVR put it in an interesting way, suggesting that VR won’t supplant all traditional education methods, but it will augment them just like the internet did.
That’s a fairly large statement, but it’s one that brings us to the point here, which is that one of the many evolutions of VR beyond gaming is into the field of education, in which we can include job and skill training. As we all know, chauffeurs and other paid and/or private drivers have to go through training regimens – sometimes fairly strict ones – in order to secure work. And there is every chance that VR is about to change what that process looks like, possibly making it more efficient and more effective along the way.
At this early stage there isn’t much in the way of news suggesting an impending link between chauffeur training and VR specifically. However, the idea of driver training in general is getting quite a lot of attention. It’s been suggested, for instance, that VR simulations could become a core part of driver training for those looking to obtain their licenses for the first time. And, more on the professional level, VR training is slowly but surely being implemented for truckers as well. Said one former Indy 500 racer working on this very subject, VR simulation is way more similar to driving an actual vehicle than anything else that’s come before it. For this reason, it is being tested out in fields like trucking in which driver safety is of paramount importance and drivers need to be prepared for realistic on-road scenarios.
It’s beginning to seem inevitable that driver training, on a wide scale, will be added to the list of areas virtual reality has expanded to beyond gaming. Implementing it in private driver training is more of an open question, but it’s almost certainly going to be an option in the near future, at the very least.