Driving Simulators and Test Vehicle

Our research group applies different driving simulators and a test vehicle for validation and demonstration purposes. The four driving simulators cover a scope from simple and transportable to a high-end-simulator with an extensive dynamic motion and visualization system. Especially the latter one provides a realistic driving experience and thus is very suitable for evaluation of novel motion cueing strategies as well as for driver trainings which focus on advanced driver assistance systems and handling complex and critical traffic situations.

ATMOS Driving Simulator

The ATMOS Driving Simulator consists of a real vehicle chassis with all its control actuators, a visualization dome and a motion system with 5 degrees of freedom. Inside the dome the driving scenario is beamed on a seamless circular projection with 270 ° viewing angle that entirely covers the driver’s range of vision. Moreover, the corresponding rear views are displayed in the outside and inside rearview mirrors and continuously adapted to the driver’s viewing direction by tracking the head position with a video system. The driver’s control actuators are steering wheel and pedals as they are used in real vehicles. In addition to visual information force-feedback-actuators give haptic feedback about the vehicle state, that help the driver to properly consider the current driving situation. A standard interface is used for mechanical coupling and signal routing between chassis and platform, thus different chassis such as compact car or even truck cabins can be mounted on the simulator with low exchange effort.

Inside the dome the chassis is mounted on a shaker system. This is one of two mechanical coupled motion system components that can be actuated independently. The shaker system is equipped with three crankshaft drives that perform rotation of the platform around the longitudinal and lateral axis as well as a translational movement in vertical direction, all without moving the projection area. Moreover the dome including the projection area can be rotated around longitudinal and lateral axis by applying the second part of the motion system, which consists of a cross-undercarriage that is moved by four electric linear actors in arbitrary combination. In order to achieve the optimal choice of actuators for all 5 DOF a Motion Cueing Algorithm is used.

Transportable driving simulator with motion system actuated by pneumatic muscles (top), truck-driving-simulator and Oculus Rift simulator (bottom)

According to the current application or research question, sometimes simple simulators are more suitable than large and extensive systems. Especially for transfer of research results into industrial development and application it is essential to use simulators, that are configurable flexibly, transportable and cost-efficient. Thus we operate different simulators that fulfill these requirements and have motion systems with low geometrical extension. Furthermore we use different display systems to replace large-scale projection areas, such as screens an Oculus Rift, that provide a realistic visual experience.

Validation of our models in comparison to real systems can be carried out with our test vehicle which is equipped with comprehensive measurement instrumentation.

Test vehicle in a measurement maneuver