Facilities & Services
UMTRI's primary driving simulator is the DriveSafety driving simulator, a product used by top-tier U.S. universities and corporations conducting driving research. The facility has a full-size vehicle cab with a touch screen center console, a computer-controlled, projected LCD speedometer/tachometer cluster, operating foot controls, and torque motor to provide realistic force feedback. The in-cab displays are controlled by Macintosh computers running BASIC, software that can also generate directional in-cab sounds. Those sounds are presented by a 10-speaker system from a Nissan Altima, supplemented by a four-speaker system for road sounds.
Road scenes are projected on three forward screens almost 16 feet from the driver (120 degree field of view) and a rear channel 12 feet away (40 degree field of view). Each channel is 1024x768 and updates at 60 Hz. Simulated worlds are created using tiles (as in SimCity). There are about 250 tiles in the library, including scenes from rural, urban, residential, industrial, and expressway settings including intersections with programmable traffic signals. All roads comply with AASHTO and MUTCD standards. Scenes are currently daytime only, though bad weather (fog, rain, snow) can be simulated. Traffic is programmable, either following the general rules of the road or as scripted.
Driver and vehicle performance (steering wheel angle, speed, lane position, etc.) are recorded at up to 30 Hz by the main simulator computer, and performance on in-cab tasks is recorded by the Macintoshes. In addition, driver actions (face, hands, and feet plus the instrument panel and foot controls) and parts of the road scene can be recorded by an eight-camera video system onto a quad-split image.