Honda Bicycle Simulator injects road-safety fun into gaming

Honda's slightly bizarre attitude toward personal mobility has given us an hybrid car, an exoskeleton to strap your granny into and a gyroscope-packed Segway-alternative; however if you'd rather stay indoors, then their latest simulator might do the trick.  The Honda Bicycle Simulator is intended to allow would-be cyclists to "safely experiencing the possible risks bicycle riders may face" in the hope that they then don't end up under a juggernaut.

To do that, there's a mounted bike and large display, along with speakers that extend out to surround the rider's head.  The simulator shows various road conditions, while the bike controller itself is clever enough to recognize when the rider dismounts and walks it along, as per the road situation.  Secondary displays mean you can check over your shoulder and to the sides.

The content itself varies according to the user's age, and Honda has pre-programmed simulations of "going to school," "going to the grocery store," "going to cram school" and "going to a local shopping street".  As you might expect, they aren't planning on selling very many of their Bicycle Simulators; in fact just 500 of the 732,900 yen ($8,253) systems are tipped to find buyers each year.

[via Autoblog]

Press Release:

Honda to Begin Sales of Honda Bicycle Simulator Developed for Traffic Safety Education

TOKYO, Japan, October 15, 2009 – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced plans to begin Japan-wide sales starting February 2010, of the Honda Bicycle Simulator developed for the purpose of traffic safety education. By safely experiencing the possible risks bicycle riders may face, users will improve their ability to predict risks and increase safety awareness. In addition, rider evaluation session which will follow the riding simulation will help users learn traffic rules and manners in an enjoyable way. Honda will aim for widespread use of this simulator by a range of customers including public offices, law-enforcement organizations, driving schools and educational institutions which conduct bicycle safety education programs primarily for school children and senior citizens. Honda will begin accepting pre-sale orders in November of this year.

In recent years, the total number of fatalities from traffic accidents has declined in Japan. However, the ratio of fatalities in accidents involving bicycles has increased. Bicycle riders aged 10 – 19 in and above the age of 50 have the highest chance to get involved in an accident, and approximately 70 percent of bicycle accidents are caused by violation of traffic rules.

Leveraging the know-how accumulated through its activities to promote traffic safety since 1964, Honda has been developing and selling motorcycle and automobile simulators since 1996 and 2001, respectively, as traffic safety educational devices which enable users to safely experience the risks based on real-world traffic situations. By offering these simulators, Honda's goal is to improve people's ability to predict risks and increase safety awareness. Striving to realize a richer mobility society in the future, Honda developed the Honda Bicycle Simulator as an educational tool for a wider range of people.

Key features of the Honda Bicycle Simulator

・ Compact design (length 2,270mm × height 1,400mm × width 990mm, weight 88kg)

・ Equipped with monitors to check right/left and behind.

・ Equipped with a "walking sensor" which recognizes the user's action of walking the bicycle.

・ Contains different courses such as "going to school," "going to the grocery store," "going to cram school" and "going to a local shopping street" to offer realistic experiences for user groups of different ages.

・ Contains a course for the user to learn traffic laws and manners to ride a bicycle in mixed traffic.

・ After the simulation, the rider's path can be reviewed from multiple vantage points -above/below and right/left- and the riding situation and evaluation will be displayed on the monitor.

Sales Plan (in Japan): 500 units per year

Suggested Retail Price (in Japan, including delivery fee): 732,900 yen (698,000 yen before tax)