Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU)’s efforts to nurture students’ creativity and promote innovative research have been recognised once again. The University recently received a grant from the Smart Traffic Fund for the development of a Virtual Reality-based (VR) Driving Training System. The research aims to promote the development of smart city by investigating the adoption of VR technology in driving practices and mock tests, which will help prepare learners to drive in various traffic conditions and also enhance the efficiency of road usage. The concept of the system is originated from a student project, and the research is led by an expert from HKMU.
At present, the driving courses for private cars and light goods vehicles are generally conducted on the roads near the examination centres, which puts some pressure on the traffic in those locations. Additionally, conventional driving practices may not provide trainees with the experience of driving under different weather conditions or traffic situations. The proposed “VR-based Driving Training System” being developed by HKMU aims to provide a solution to these issues.
HKMU Vice President (Research and Student Development) Prof. Ricky Kwok Yu-kwong explained, “HKMU has always encouraged teachers and students to provide innovative solutions to societal challenges. The idea of the VR-based Driving Training System originated from a final year project by a graduate of the Computing and Interactive Entertainment programme. Receiving this grant from the Smart Traffic Fund is a testimony of the joint efforts of students, teachers and the driver-training industry to promote innovation.”
The student project was showcased in the HKMU Creative Arts Graduation Show 2021, where the Lee Kin Driving School was impressed by the creativity and subsequently provided resources to support the University in conducting relevant preliminary research and continuous development of the Virtual Reality-based (VR) Driving Training System. Along with funds from HKMU’s Quality Enhancement Measures and the Smart Traffic Fund, the project will be further extended from preliminary research to specific system development.
The lead investigator of the project, Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences Dr William Lai Chi-fu explained, “This system and conventional driving courses will complement each other. Learners will be able to conduct VR driving practice and mock tests, which will ease the load on our roads. The system will also provide trainees with experiences that are difficult to arrange or encounter in traditional driving courses, thus equipping them with excellent and safe driving skills and habits.”
Ada Wong, Executive Manager from Lee Kin Driving School, explained that the School has always been devoted to enhancing driver training. Since HKMU continues to promote innovative research in driving training systems, the School decided to support the project to join hands in promoting innovation in driver training.
Prof. Ricky Kwok Yu-kwong emphasised that HKMU aims to conduct research that is beneficial to the development of Hong Kong and the region. This innovative research in traffic and transport is not only cross-disciplinary research in creative arts and technology, but also a research project in collaboration with the industry, which highlights HKMU’s support for the Government’s advocacy of collaboration among industry, academia and the research sector.