Driver Training Simulators are a low-cost way to learn to drive which using specialist software; coupled with computer hardware, visual displays and input controls. Driving training software is specific to the country and language – taking account of local rules in respect of left or right-hand driving, road signs and road markings and other driving laws. Carnetsoft is one company that provides various Driver Training Simulator software featuring virtual environments based in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, various different countries across Europe and even the Far East such as Thailand and Malaysia.
As well as for driver instructing and training, you can use a Car Simulator simply for fun. Driving simulators are popular in the games industry both for in-home gaming with a simple joystick or steering controllers or in gaming arcades and leisure complexes which put you in a driving seat with replicate controls and immersive HD screens. Whilst these types of ‘gaming’ applications are entertaining they aren’t strictly a simulation since the type of driving and responses depicted aren’t true to the real-world situation or laws of physics. They can also be unhelpful for anyone looking to improve their actual driving, for example as they don’t teach visual scanning which is a vital component of driving in real life. Serious applications are available though including assessment of driver fitness, with tasks setting based on real world scenarios but without the ecological or ethical limitations, and research into driving behaviour such as effects of pharmacological agents or distraction.