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Driving simulator in 7m virtual reality dome

The dome on the right contains the car on the left and a ton of technology.

Toyota's latest car is designed to improve safety not by anything it does on the road, but by its performance inside a giant simulator atop a 4.5m gantry.

The system features a real car inside a 7.1m-diameter dome with a 360-degree screen on its interior surface, onto which video that mimics real-world driving is projected. The whole lot is then placed on a computer-controlled platform that shifts on hydraulics to simulate the feeling of driving.

Thrills but no spills

Drivers can operate the car as they would on a road and the system responds with appropriate visuals and sound effects - add to that the fact that the rig can move forward and backwards through 35m and sideways by 20m and you have a recipe for the world's most realistic videogame, we reckon.

Fun factor aside, Toyota says the simulator will be used to examine how drivers perform under certain conditions and to assess its new safety technologies.