Driving Simulator Laboratory
Housed at the Virginia Campus of The George Washington University, the
state-of-the-art Driving Simulator Laboratory is used to conduct vital
vehicle and driving behavior research. The primary goal of this research is
to avoid crashes and collisions on the road. This laboratory allows the
Center for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) to perform driving experiments
in a safe and controlled laboratory setting. Technical
specifications for the simulator are also available.
Using a vehicle donated by General Motors Corporation, the
simulator has been used to conduct research with the primary goal of avoiding
crashes and collisions on the road. The lab allows for experiments on the
impact of a wide range of factors, including drowsiness and road or traffic
distractions. This data is then used to develop warning systems for potential
hazards that might lead to crashes. †In
addition, the simulator could be employed in a number of other studies, such
- Measuring the
distraction potential of future in-vehicle intelligent transportation
- Determining the impact
of road design on driver behavior, and
- Developing cognitive
models of human driving behavior.
The driving simulator environment is ideal for this research
because it provides an environment that is both safe and replicable. The
simulators can safely measure driver reaction to unsafe and even
life-threatening situations. Moreover, simulators can be used in carefully
controlled experimental studies, in which the experimental variables are
isolated from other factors that might influence driver performance. New
driving scenarios are easily created and allow the specification of an
arbitrary sequence of tasks, events and performance measurement intervals.
The simulator also allows the collection of data on rare but important
situations in a short time frame.
Our full-featured simulator is able to provide a life-like driving experience.
The visual display is a curved screen with 135-degree wide-angle field of
view. In addition, auditory feedback is provided through stereo components.
The steering wheel produces an authentic feeling of road grip
through a generated counter torque. A validated vehicle dynamics program
governs the behavior of the vehicles in the simulation.
The Driving Simulator Laboratory performs comprehensive data collection,
including eye-tracking data. The data includes the complete vehicle dynamics,
as well as the steering angle, throttle position, and brake position. In
addition, an eye-tracking system provides accurate measurement of the
driverís focal point of attention, pupil size, blink rate, and the time that
eyes stay shut during blinks.