The United Kingdom wants drivers to learn the dynamics of car control at an earlier age, and is aiding the development of a new car aimed at 5-10 year olds by putting out a call for test drivers.
Young Driver Motor Cars, a division of Young Driver (a London-based company that has instructed some 300,000 children aged 10-17, in preparation for obtaining their licences), has been tasked with creating a car in which 5-10 year olds can hone their driving skills.
Four of the cars are on a test track at the Gadget Show in Birmingham, and will give children in the target age group a chance to take one for a spin.
It further wants to make it known that the car is not a toy but a state-of-the-art 2-seat roadster designed by Chris Johnson (a 30-year veteran of auto design) and has been in development for nine months. Two electric motors, disc brakes, independent suspension and collision mitigation through automated braking (remote braking is also available to a supervisor, in case of technology failure).
“This is not a toy. It is very definitely a small car! We’ve had children involved throughout its development, working with the designers and engineers to ensure that it provides a realistic driving experience,” said Kim Stanton, director of Young Driver. “The Gadget Show will allow us to get a wider cross section of ages and sizes behind the wheel, trying out our final pre-production models. All young test drivers at the Gadget Show will be able to tell everyone they were one of the very first people to give the car a try, and that they had a hand in its development.”
The unique car, manufactured exclusively in the UK, is available in right-hand or left-hand drive, and can reportedly reach a top speed of 16km/h.
“We created these training cars for 5 – 10 year olds from scratch because nothing existed in the market other than toys and fairground rides, and these don’t give a realistic driving experience,” added Stanton. “The ultimate aim is to give youngsters a greater insight in terms of road safety. By getting behind the wheel of a car, and tackling some day to day situations like junctions, passing cyclists and reversing, this age group will have a much clearer idea of how to protect themselves as pedestrians or on their bikes.
“Of course, it will also be great fun for them, which always helps with learning! As this is an electric car, it also helps teach youngsters about the environmental responsibility of motoring,” she concluded.
Cars will begin deliveries in May 2016 to centres offering the Young Drivers 5-10 course, on closed courses that simulate real world driving situations such as traffic lights and parking lots.