Highly realistic driving simulator helps develop safer cars

Apr 03, 2006
 Highly realistic driving simulator helps develop safer cars

EUREKA project ULTIMATE has led to the development of a highly sophisticated simulator to improve car design and increase road safety in Europe using novel mechanical, display and software technology.

Simulators can make a major contribution to vehicle design and the study of human driving factors. However, they have been of more limited value for road vehicles due to the large linear motion needed (for e.g. when turning corners or during braking). As a result, the cost of suitable car simulators had been prohibitive.

Dutch, French and UK partners in the ULTIMATE project combined expertise in car design, motion platforms, displays and software to develop a highly cost-effective new simulator design that will allow a more detailed study of human behaviour when driving road vehicles, as well as the trial and development of new aids to improve performance and safety for vehicle users. The ULTIMATE simulator is compact and modular with a choice of conventional screen or head-mounted virtual reality displays supplying information on car performance and visibility - from the very beginning of vehicle development.

Overcoming mechanical constraints

New design and materials were essential to the project. “We needed to overcome the mechanical constraints of earlier simulators to be able to accelerate for a sufficient duration of 1 to 3 sec at 0.1g for example in X and Y axes with a high payload,” explains ULTIMATE project leader Dr Andras Kemeny, head of the Renault Technical Centre forSimulation and Renault’s expert in driving simulation and virtual reality. ULTIMATE took an innovative and particular cost-effective approach, resulting in a low overall weight for the simulator – around 3.5 tonnes. It uses a compact six-axis platform
mounted on a second large linear motion bi-directional frame that allows peak accelerations of up to 7 m/s2 in X and Y directions.

Advanced virtual display

An on-board 150° cylindrical screen provides a lightweight display that supplies full motion performance. Alternatively, when physical component integration is impossible or impractical, the driver can use a high-performance, head-mounted display (HMD) that makes it possible to drive in a fully virtual cockpit. The display systems were developed by UK partner SEOS; the HMD in the EUREKA E! 1924 CARDS project. “SEOS was involved in the project from the beginning and contacted Renault for information about track simulation. We became involved as an original partner pulled out. We asked for modifications and encouraged other partners to join. A second EUREKA project – MOVES – will extend the work of ULTIMATE to optimise the software and the motion algorithms. This new project is being led by our ULTIMATE project partner CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research),” says Dr Kemeny. “EUREKA played a crucial role both in providing access to funding and in offering a coherent legal structure for cooperation over the research period. Without such a structure I believe we could not have done this project.”

Source: EUREKA (www.eureka.be)

Explore further: S.Korea nuclear plants stage drill against cyber attack

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Baby steps towards molecular robots

Dec 11, 2014

A walking molecule, so small that it cannot be observed directly with a microscope, has been recorded taking its first nanometre-sized steps.

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

Oct 16, 2014

Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. ...

NASA, partners target megacities carbon emissions

Sep 24, 2014

Driving down busy Interstate 5 in Los Angeles in a nondescript blue Toyota Prius, Riley Duren of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is a man on a mission as he surveys the vast urban ...

Recommended for you

China condemns 'cyber terrorism' in wake of Sony attack

2 hours ago

China's foreign minister condemned all forms of "cyber terrorism" in talks with his American counterpart, a statement said Monday, as the US accused Beijing's ally North Korea with being behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures.

BlackBerry rides with Boeing on self-destruct phone

2 hours ago

The news from Reuters on Friday came as no shock to those who know Blackberry's strong rep for security (John Chen, the company's CEO, is not shy about promoting the company's branding message of safety. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.