Individuals with cognitive impairments can be faced with difficulties that may challenge their ability to drive an automobile, and this impairment is often very disruptive to vocational, social, and domestic activities. Rehabilitation specialists are often given the task of determining capacity to drive. However, traditional assessment methods are fraught with various limitations, including dependence on subjective interpretation of behaviors, nonstandardized procedures, and few ecologically valid measures. A virtual reality-based driving-assessment system (VR-DAS) offers the opportunity to overcome many of the limitations of current methodologies. Specifically, a VR-DAS permits the development of relevant driving scenarios that can provide objective and quantifiable measures of driving behaviors, allowing for increasing standardization and consistency of protocols. VR-DAS also allows for the creation of realistic and interactive driving scenarios at varying levels of challenge and complexity. When coupled with the immersive features offered through a headmounted display (HMD), the VR-DAS may allow drivers to experience the sense of real-life driving, resulting in behavior and responsiveness that may be more predictive of actual driving ability. To examine these potential benefits and the validity of a VR-DAS, a collaborative study is presently being conducted, comparing VR-DAS performance and actual behind-the-wheel performance in adults with acquired brain injury (such as traumatic brain injury and stroke).

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