Pokémon Go-induced car crashes are already occurring on Australian roads, and The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB Group) is concerned about the increasing amount of gaming related incidents.
In a response to drivers trying to ‘catch’em all’, the ARRB has announced a world first in-depth study to investigate the extent and impact of Pokémon Go distraction on pedestrians. It comes after reports from Perth police that they are catching more than 50 motorists a one week playing the games behind the wheel.
The study will utilise multi-directional treadmills VR headset set to mirror a regular street environment with cars, pedestrians, cyclists and other Pokémon Go players. The subjects will be sent free in the virtual world to ‘catch them all’ in a simulated environment while the team studies the behaviour while they’ve got their head in the game. This will also be compared to regular pedestrians and those using mobile phones for texting and other apps.
While there have been suggestions around how to adapt the game to improve road safety, we’re left wondering what kind of impact will augmented reality games have on pedestrian and road safety long term, given this will be the first of many apps to capture attention.
The research findings will be used to inform government policy, infrastructure design to improve pedestrian safety, and recommendations into how the game and future VR games can become more embedded into societal safety.
In the meantime…