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Driving simulator for consumers

    Domain: Simulators/virtualization  

    Status Reached: Design partners 

    When: Jan 2023 – January 2024

    Team skill set: Background in flight instruction and flight simulators, startup management, serial entrepreneurs

    Thesis

    There is an urgent need to increase driving safety. There are 20M new drivers each year, 1.3M people are killed annually, and another 20M are hurt. And young drivers are three times more likely to be involved in car accidents. It’s more damaging than climate change over the next decade. There are more searches for “Driving Simulator” than for “Learning to Drive,” so new drivers are looking for a driving simulator to assist their practical driving lessons, but none exist at the consumer level. [This opportunity can be approached both from the gaming opportunity aspect and the impact opportunity]

    The idea was to leverage knowledge from flight simulation to create a driver simulator for consumers at a semi-professional level. 

    Currently, there is a huge market of 400M gamers who like car races, but it’s not a good way to learn practical driving. But you could build a driving simulator that could show the entire globe and use tools from learning flight to learning safe driving. 

    We decided to start with highschools – the Reali in Haifa as and two other high schools as  design partners. The idea was to develop a more basic version for high schools and then create a higher-end version for consumers. Also, we wanted to use the Apple model – take a few people and turn them into evangelists. 

    We worked on the idea alone for a while, and after the first co-founder decided to move on, I brought on another co-founder with a background in developing simulators for the air force.  We were planning to start fundraising on October 8th, but were called to miluim.

    Validation

    • Sent a questionnaire to friends and family in the relevant ages. 86% said they would be interested in using a driving simulator. Didn’t do more since we understood that to test it we needed a much bigger sample with a U.S.-based agency. 
    • Did A/B testing on how people would rather pay, analyzed gaming (like Microsoft’s flight simulator). 
    • Why the idea didn’t progress: 
    • No interest from VCs. Most didn’t even answer. The one that did said that autonomous cars will be here soon, so no need for a driving simulator. 

    Insights

    • Need money to build a good simulator, since otherwise you won’t be able to raise money. 
    • Talk to as many people as possible with all different perspectives.
    • Analyze investor scope (phase, investment level) and industries to prevent approaching those that are irrelevant. We targeted either gaming or impact investors.