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Ford VR project offers van drivers a cyclist’s eye view


Delivery drivers have tried a virtual reality experience that allows users to see the world from either a cyclist’s or a driver’s point of view in a virtual space.

The aim of the award-winning ‘WheelSwap’ virtual reality experience – part of Ford’s ‘Share The Road’ campaign – is simple: to encourage people to make a few small changes to the way they drive or cycle so that everyone is a bit safer on the road.

More than 35 drivers from consumer delivery firm Hermes participated in the training at one of the firm’s London depots. Hermes delivers 390 million parcels a year and employs thousands of drivers across its network.

The exercise provided a useful opportunity for drivers to see the road from a different perspective, with 88 per cent agreeing that the experience would encourage them to change their behaviour.

Tom Thompson, project lead, Ford Mobility said: “It is important to Ford that all road users are able to reach their destination safely. We fully support greater diversity in last mile delivery solutions and are actively working to stimulate more cargo bike deliveries in urban areas. Working with companies like Hermes in this way helps keep the roads as safe as possible for all.”

WheelSwap was developed together with London-based agency Happy Finish. It has proved an effective tool for building empathy, with 91 per cent of the initial 1,200 participants intending to change their behaviour, 70 per cent displaying greater empathy to their driving and cycling counterparts after watching the VR experience and 60 per cent of participating driver and cyclists changing their on-road habits within two weeks of taking part. It has won six awards, including accolades from SABRE and European Excellence Awards.