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WHEELY GOOD Virtual driving simulator was so ‘incredible & realistic’ they should be incorporated into test system, FG Senator says

A SENATOR FROM IRELAND wants the country’s driving test system to include virtual driving simulators.

A SENATOR FROM IRELAND wants virtual driving simulators in the country’s driving tests.

The Fine Gael representative said the virtual system is both safe for students and environmentally friendly.


Virtual driving simulator


For him, “virtual driving” should be part of the driving experience, he told the Irish Sun newspaper. The simulator might be used by new drivers to receive credit toward the mandatory 12 hours of classroom instruction.

“There are a variety of advantages for individuals. Some of the folks I’ve met have suffered life-altering injuries and, as a result, lack the self-assurance necessary to get behind the wheel and begin their journey toward becoming licensed drivers.

People of all ages, young and old, may learn about how an automobile works in a safe setting before ever getting behind the wheel of one themselves.”

As a result, I believe it is a useful method of preparing people for their first experience on the road in a secure and controlled environment.”

He concluded by saying: “It also has no impact on the environment in terms of carbon emissions. During the course of 12 sessions, you’ll be learning how to drive in a virtual environment. Ireland needs to include this into its education system.”

McGahon plans to contact the RSA and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan next week to discuss the proposed solution.

After a trip to Dundalk’s Drive Virtual Driving Academy, the Louth reps are more motivated than ever to get the virtual simulators into the national test system.

It was during the discussion of his recent test drive that he said: “It’s awe-inspiring and incredibly lifelike. It was too good to be true.

“You’ll be able to drive in all kinds of weather and with varying levels of traffic. It’s almost as good as driving a real car. I’ve never experienced a virtual encounter quite like this before.

The company was founded in November of last year and is Ireland’s first carbon-neutral virtual driving school.

Sadly, Paul Brady and his late wife Briege were unable to see their long-cherished dream come to fulfillment because of her struggle with cancer.

Paul went on to say: “The idea for this project has been at the back of my mind for a long time, but my wife had been battling illness for some time.

“She battled cancer twice before succumbing to it a third time in March 2021, when it reappeared.

This was a dream that Briege and I shared, and I thought it would be an appropriate way to pay honor to her memory.”

The system, according to the native of Dundalk, is intended to be overly sensitive in order to better prepare students for real-world situations. In addition, it may be configured to take on the characteristics of other models of automobiles, and can even be adjusted to any vehicle type.



Virtual driving simulator


One of the main features is that any incidents that occur during a lesson can be reviewed to help show people where they went wrong.

He explained: “If any obstacle is hit during the lesson, the lesson is stopped and they get a review of what went wrong. We can even do a video replay of what they’re after doing and we can talk them through what they did wrong.

“They can’t progress in the lesson once there is an accident, the review stops the lesson. And obviously, the most important thing is that everyone is safe.”

Paul said that lessons progress people through each step of learning how to drive and various different simulations can be run to also help people get used to driving in rural or city settings, on motorways, and in different weather conditions.



Aside from working with various community groups in the area, he spoke about how he sets up crash simulations to teach joyriders about the hazards of speeding.

“We also take in young people who have gotten into trouble for joyriding or whatever,” he stated. I join them in focusing on the dangers of speed.

It’s possible to make up scenarios on the machine in which people are knocked down and injured.” They get a wake-up call from the expression of disbelief on their faces the first time it happens.

We didn’t consider the advantages these simulators provide to those with autism spectrum disorders when we first started. About ten or twelve young men with autism have found the machine’s training method to be ideal.”

Rally drivers have tested the simulator and found it “extremely realistic,” according to Paul, who claims to have had several success stories of clients who were frightened of driving and went on to earn their license.

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