Ground Vehicle Simulation
(image provided by Leeds University)
Training average passenger car drivers is only economically feasible when using inexpensive and therefore rather simple ground vehicle simulators (driving simulators). The cost of passenger cars is so low that it does not justify training in an expensive simulator. These inexpensive simulators are mainly procedure trainers, where the driver learns basic driving tasks in a safe environment.
For more specialized and expensive vehicles more advanced simulators are justified, that also include a motion system to provide motion feedback. A lot of truck, train, tram and military vehicle drivers are already trained in simulators.
Another class of simulators are research and development simulators where the simulator is a tool in research into vehicle systems and vehicle design. Research simulators often need to be reconfigurable to accommodate different types of vehicles or different experiments. The simulator is used to evaluate new designs or for fundamental research into driver psychology and physiology. Research simulators are also used for human and hardware in the loop (HHIL) testing; in this setup parts of the simulated vehicle are replaced by the real parts (such as an engine), which are tied into the simulation such that the driver can evaluate the subjective performance of the part without building a complete prototype of the vehicle.
Of course there are also simulators that are used just for fun, mostly race car simulators.
An important difference between Ground Vehicle Simulation and Flight Simulation is that a ground vehicle operates much closer to the ground, which causes objects in the visual scene move a lot faster across the screen and therefore require more detail and texture than is required in an aircraft simulator. Also the information required for the driver to take decisions largely comes from the out-of-the-window view, like traffic signs, road markings and other traffic. Therefore the requirements on the screen and image generator are high. Another difference with flight simulation is that the accelerations of a ground vehicle are not only higher, but also change a lot quicker than in an aircraft, and therefore the requirements on a motion system are also very high. Most driving simulators therefore have a very large motion system.
Vectioneer has many years of experience designing simulation systems, from hexapod based simulators to very large x-y systems. Our approach to simulator design is to provide a custom solution shaped to your specific needs, whether the system is meant for driver training, hardware and/or human in the loop simulation for research or for pure entertainment.