Emergency Water Landing VR

Posted April 27, 2015 by Sandra Whelan in Features

Emergency Water Landing VR is an air accident simulation created by the University of Udine’s Human Computer Interaction Lab as a research project.

They claim that a user study has shown that the virtual reality experience of water landing and evacuation produces better knowledge retention results than traditional aviation safety education materials.  We decided to take to the skies and experience this first hand.

You first begin by boarding the craft which is a simple walk down the corridor and enter the plane. We used our xbox controller and it was a bit wonky walking as the right sick is just for forwards and backwards movements without any strafing as you would normally expect. After a few moments of adjusting you enter the aeroplane where you are prompted to walk to the back and store your luggage. You simply walk to your destination and press A to interact with the onscreen options. Once you sit in your seat you do certainly feel immersed but the game for some reason proceeds to bring you back to the menu screen to choose Fly from the options menu. We think this is unnecessary as simply fading to black and reappearing in the air would have been perfectly acceptable instead of going through a needless loading screen taking you out of the moment.

flight sim vr 2After you finally get onto the air you can look around and looking out the window really does feel like you’re on an actual flight even if the terrain is a bit low ress.  After a short time you will hear a bang and the engine out your window starts to billow black smoke. You then have to fasten your seat belt and brace for impact. It’s an immersive scene but the passengers around you seem very calm and the audio feels very robotic. I would have screaming in the background to heighten the realism as inducing stress during the test would in my opinion benefit the user in case of a real life emergency.

At all stages during the simulation you are given choices on how to proceed. Choose incorrectly and you end up dying however thankfully in virtual reality you always get a second chance to try again.

flight sim vr 1Overall the logic and educational aspect of the experience is clear to see. It certainly teaches you the correct emergency procedure to disembark a plane that’s landed on the water. It’s graphics are a bit basic but functional and you will notice avatars popping up as you walk down the aisles but this doesn’t take away from the fact emergency Water Landing VR is a great teaching tool for air travellers.

Experiencing Emergency Water Landing in VR is a strange feeling as it replicates an everyday environment that is so familiar with most of us yet it shows us what could happen and what most of us put to the back of our minds when travelling by air. The simulation certainly feels beneficial to me but I don’t think it helps me much with pre-flight jitters as I’m certain this experience will  be in the fore front of my mind the next time I board an aeroplane which is very soon as us here at Virtual Reality Reviewer are travelling to SVVR in a few weeks’ time.

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About the Author

Sandra Whelan

Sandra is an account manager by day and a full blown VR enthusiast by night. She loves to play the guinea pig and test the latest games and hardware and give an honest review of her findings

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