Truck Driving Simulator Laboratory
In a project supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA), CISR developed a truck driving simulator for driver behavioral
studies. A partnership was established between CISR and the Modeling,
Simulation and Driving Simulators (MSIS) research unit of the French National
Institute for Transport and Safety Research (INRETS). This laboratory has
enabled CISR to perform driving experiments in a safe and controlled
laboratory setting. Technical specifications for
the simulator are available.
Field operational testing for the study of driver behavior requires
extensive preparation and precaution measures to limit subjects risk exposure
during experiment. Moreover, inherent variability in testing conditions may
introduce error in the experiment results. Alternatively, a driving simulator
offers the ability to replicate driving situations in a safe and repeatable experimental
environment. The control of simulation conditions in a driving simulator
allows independent study of driving factors and hence more efficient analysis
of specific driving issues.
The Truck Driving Simulator presented unique issues due to the differences
in commercial vehicle operation differ and passenger vehicle driving.
Features specific to truck driving were identified and particular issues
involved in the duplication of a truck environment were considered including:
- The height of the
truck cabin is critical in the limited space of a laboratory since high
cabin roofs can intersect projector beams. This concern should guide the
selection of the cabin for the new simulator.
- A hood must be placed
in front of the truck cabin to replicate the driving view of most
long-nose heavy trucks commonly found on U.S. roads.
- A dominant view of the
road ahead should be displayed to reproduce the high driving position of
- A gear box must be
integrated with both automatic driving and manual driving modes to
simulate the different gear shifting modes found in U.S. trucks.
- The sound and
vibrations transmitted to the vehicle cabin must reproduce the noisy and
trembling environment of a real truck cabin.
- Rear view projection
should be available in the simulator cabin to allow drivers to manage
the behavior of their trailer as they usually do on the road.
The simulator includes additional hardware to measure and record
driverís behavior and level of alertness/sleepiness during the drowsiness
studies. Video images provide valuable information for studying driverís
behavior. The truck driving simulator is equipped with a digital video
monitoring and recording system. Infra red cameras
capture images of driverís face and body, hands, feet, and displayed driving
scene as viewed from the inside the cabin.
The simulator lab is also equipped with an eye tracking and measuring
system. The system measures and records the line of gaze and the pupil
diameter of the driver during experiment.