Volvo is using video game technology in driving simulators that are making its cars safer, and at a fraction of the price of traditional testing.

Set to test the brand’s latest driver assistance and autonomous technology, the virtual-reality simulator aims to make the experience as realistic as possible to driving – even to the point that you’re sat in a Volvo seat, looking at a Volvo steering wheel and ‘feeling’ the controls via haptic feedback. Volvo says that it’s “hard to tell reality from simulation”.

The technology showcases what it’s like to drive a real car on real roads, and is used by engineers to monitor how motorists react with self-driving technology and driver assistance features in a car. Testers are then exposed to various driving scenarios around these, with all this costing a fraction of what it would to conduct real tests out on the open road.

Those being used for the experiments also wear special clothing, developed by a firm called ‘Teslasuit’, which gives the testers input as to what it would be like to actually be sat and driving in the car.

Casper Wickman, senior leader of user experience at Volvo’s Open Innovation Arena, said: “Working together with great companies such as Varjo, Unity and Teslasuit has allowed us to test so many scenarios that look and feel totally real, without having to physically build anything.

“It lets us test drive actual cars in traffic scenarios that look and feel real but can be adjusted at the touch of a button. By using this cutting-edge technology, we are exploring and leading the development for creating safe cars in the future. It’s great to play a part in that.”

Volvo is one of the leading manufacturers when it comes to vehicle safety, and has a pledge that from this year no occupants in its cars will be seriously injured or killed in a crash.