Forget about split-screen displays, 7.1 surround speakers, and driving peripherals. Lexus says it has the world’s most advanced driving simulator, a relative behemoth that looks very similar to sophisticated flight simulators.
Inside the main pod (which is 56 feet in diameter) is an actual Lexus car, sans the wheels. Surrounding this vehicular shell is a 360 display that projects any kind of pretend driving environment. Move “forward’ in one direction, and the virtual landscape will even recede in the rear view mirrors for a more real-feeling experience. The 15-foot tall pod is held by hydraulic jacks, and moves around on tracks inside a warehouse as large as a football field.
According to Lexus, the system can simulate the sensations produced by a car going at 186 mph—and can make the faux driver feel like he’s going through 330-degree turns. What’s the point of such a large-scale driving simulator? The luxury brand of Toyota trumpets it as a way to test new technologies “without real-world consequences”, while giving its PR department something notable to showcase.