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Nissan Shifts Gear in Metaverse with Heritage Cars & Safe Drive Studio

The experience combines learning about classic Nissan vehicles with interactive modules focused on safe driving practices in a virtual environment. This initiative reflects the carmaker's commitment to using technology for traffic safety education.

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has this week launched an original metaverse experience called 'Heritage Cars & Safe Drive Studio'. The experience, available for download on virtual reality platform VRChat, goes well beyond the traditional car dealership experience, as visitors can learn about road safety while interacting with three classic Nissan vehicles.

Building on their 2022 virtual test drive experience, Nissan's new initiative offers a deeper dive. It provides not just a glimpse into the future of automobiles, but also a historical journey through Nissan's legacy.

Developed in collaboration with leading universities and the Traffic Safety Future Creation Lab, the project reflects Nissan's commitment to using cutting-edge technology for traffic safety education. The experience also commemorates Nissan's 90th anniversary year, which began in December.

The "Heritage Cars & Safe Drive Studio" transcends a virtual car museum. Each iconic vehicle serves as a gateway to a dedicated educational module. Users can explore the history, design philosophies, and engineering advancements that shaped each car. Nissan's collaboration with university researchers ensures the educational content is informative and engaging.

The core innovation lies in how these historical lessons intertwine with modules focused on safe driving practices. The immersive power of the metaverse allows Nissan to create realistic scenarios that simulate real-world driving challenges. Users can navigate virtual roads behind the wheel of classic cars, encountering simulated hazards like sudden downpours or unexpected pedestrians. This controlled environment provides a safe space to learn defensive driving techniques.

The studio features three distinct exhibits, each set in a different era:

  • 1980s: This exhibit showcases the Nissan Silvia Q's (S13), renowned for its popularity in drifting competitions. Users can learn about the impact of pedestrian clothing colors on driver reaction times.
  • 1970s: This exhibit focuses on driver awareness. Users can participate in a mini-game to understand a driver's field of view and the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel. Additionally, the exhibit features a digital recreation of the Skyline 2000GTX-E, a popular tuner car from racing video games and movies.
  • 1950s/60s: This exhibit transports users to a virtual American diner and drive-in theater setting. Visitors can participate in a "refreshing hands-on wheel spin steering exercise," presumably designed to test reaction times while interacting with a Datsun Fairlady SPL213.

The virtual environments are more than just backdrops; they are interactive spaces. Users can participate in mini-games and activities designed to teach crucial traffic safety lessons. This approach combines education with entertainment, making learning more engaging, especially for younger generations accustomed to navigating virtual spaces.

The Heritage Cars & Safe Drive Studio joins a growing list of VR/AR experiences leveraging virtual education and training environments. Similar initiatives include Google Arts & Culture's VR tours of historical landmarks and museums, and Boeing's VR training programs for astronaut training, aircraft assembly, and maintenance.

The Hyundai Motor Company has also announced a collaboration with social metaverse platform ZEPETO this week, to launch 'Timeless Seoul', a virtual experience that recreates the atmosphere of the South Korean capital in the 1970s and 1980s. Users can explore a virtual environment called 'Retro Seoul Street', featuring details like stationery shops and the sounds of vinyl records. The centerpiece of the experience is a digital recreation of the Hyundai Pony, a legacy model in Korean automotive history.