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Green Cross Code gets 21st-century makeover with AR app

Image credit: Mast3r | Dreamstime.com

An augmented reality (AR) app, teaching primary school children road safety lessons, is to be extended across the UK following trials in Warwickshire.

Warwickshire County Council’s Road Safety Team was chosen by Road Safety GB to test the AR (augmented reality) road safety app, which brings road safety lessons to life for school children in the region.

The app, called Arility, is intended to modernise the Green Cross Code by enabling young pupils to experience scenarios such as pedestrian crossings, retrieving a ball from a road and crossing a road with a bike.

Arility layers virtual objects over real-world settings to deliver engaging travel and road safety information to the children. With 360-degree visuals and entertaining sound effects, children interact directly with augmented-reality characters to identify risks and learn to make safe choices.

Furthermore, the app – which incorporates pre and post evaluation – addresses specific road-safety risks for child cyclists and pedestrians and teaches children to identify dangers and make safe choices.

Trials have begun in Warwickshire, with the county council’s Road Safety officer, Kate Castle, having tested the app with pupils aged 7-10 at a primary school in Warwick. A two-year £200,000 investment by the Department for Transport will partly be used to roll-out the scheme across the UK.

The funding comes as the government plans to publish its Road Safety Action Plan this Friday (19 July).

Transport minister Michael Ellis said: “Road safety is a priority for this department. It is vital that we find new ways to make sure young people learn about and are interested in road safety.

“This exciting project will help schools deliver engaging lessons for pupils, and I'm delighted to hear that it's already having a positive effect in its trial runs.”

Arility has already been in use in primary schools across Australia, but the app has been customised to incorporate UK road rules, streetscapes and typical travel scenarios and will be available on iPad and Android platforms.

Alan Kennedy, executive director of Road Safety GB, said: “The resource will be made available to every primary and junior school in the UK and therefore millions of children will have the opportunity to be involved in this new learning experience.

“Road Safety teams in local government offices across the UK will present Arility to children in their local schools, opening up many future opportunities to work with teachers and young children and enhancing child road safety across the UK,” he added.

Elsewhere in the world of augmented reality, credit card company Mastercard has revealed technologies such as AR as part of its work on the future of shopping and payments.

The tech and commerce firm unveiled a number of prototype technologies at a showcase in Belfast, including software which allows shoppers to examine an item in AR before deciding to purchase it.

Speaking at Laval Virtual 2019 in March – a major conference for the virtual reality (VR) and AR sectors – a senior Microsoft manager proposed that immersive computing such as AR and VR would be at the core of the next paradigm of computing.

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