I’m cruising along a quiet German urban street at about 20mph, behind the wheel of an Audi A4. Suddenly, off to my left, I’m distracted by a wayward cyclist who has weaved across the road and crashed in a heap on the pavement. 

While I’m half-absorbing that, however, a man with a baby stroller has walked out into the road a few metres ahead of me. Instinctively I go for the brake pedal. The Audi’s forward facing safety systems have already sensed the potential for an unfortunate impact and pre-pressurised the brake system, so when I press the pedal, I come to an abrupt halt.

Fortunately for my blood pressure and the safety of pedestrians, none of this is real. I’m sampling the new Audi Virtual Training Car, a high-tech tool that immerses its users in a virtual reality (VR) world that enables them to experience road scenarios that are a little difficult to fully replicate on the ‘real’ public highway.