What software gives the most realistic real-world simulated driving experience?

Joseph Videtto January 30, 2013

What software gives the most realistic real-world simulated driving experience ?
…so I can see if my teenage nephew is almost ready to take on the real challenge. Or is this type of software not yet available ?

I’m not talking about those ‘Mario Andretti”, derby, or crash-em-up games, I’m looking for something that really simulates the challenges I face as a driver on NYC streets on my way to work.

  1. Dimal Chandrasiri
    February 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I think you should give him a real car and see what happens! because simulations check reaction to some levels only! It's a more dangerous world out there that a simulator has no idea of! :D

  2. Rob Hindle
    January 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I had the same thought a few years back when 2 family members were learning to drive. Whilst a simulator falls far short of the actual in-car experience, I thought there was some scope for some of the basics, although the need for steering wheel, pedals and gear shift hardware to make the simulation more realistic would push the cost.

    The benefit might be that some aspects of driving could be learnt at lower cost and risk.

    The challenge is to make the shift from a conscious process of "there's an obstacle: I need to slow down, steer, use the gears" to that becoming a subconscious reflex" - then driving safely becomes primarily a matter of reading the road and traffic conditions.

    In UK the BSM (British School of Motoring) offers new drivers relatively affordable time in a driving simulator but the hardware was worn-out and unreliable and the software pretty poor and prone to crash.

    Also in UK, the theory part of the driving test includes a computer based "hazard perception" test. I'm not sure how transferrable that simulation is to the "real world" situation but it does underline the need to focus on what's going on outside the car rather than placing too much emphasis on the controls and indicators.
    From a software developers point of view it doesn't look like a cost-effective prospect - internationalisation would be necessary and challenging - most of the world drives on the wrong side of the road!

    I believe there are currently about 3 million registered learners in UK if you could sell a PC package to one in a thousand for GBP100, that would generate GBP300k. That compares poorly with a typical game. Of course there is a continual stream of new learners to sell to but equally there may be material changes in driving legislation which could mean a need to update the software.

  3. Switchblade Rebirth
    January 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    If you own a PS3, I suggest you should go for Gran Turismo 5 since it's the "Real Driving Simulator" of Car Games

  4. Wong Wee
    January 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I don't think any software is able to give the realistic feel of driving in the real world.

    I've tried driving in a full motion simulator, those that move around like in flight simulator, but it still feels 'gamey'.

    The best would still be to drive in a real vehicle in a closed road, or an empty carpark (with a brave passenger's hand on the handbrake preparing to pull it in a moment's notice).

  5. Phil Botsky
    January 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I tried many of this simulators and i think the best is: http://citycardriving.com/