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Research institutes present new driving simulator

Delft University Of Technology : 30 November, 2006  (Technical Article)
TRAIL, the Netherlands Research School for Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics at Delft University of Technology, is to present a new and improved driving research simulator in conjunction with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research and the national Institute for Road Safety Research.
Thanks its unique software, this simulator is more efficient than its predecessors and hence cheaper, more flexible and more standardised, thus enhancing the quality of the research.

Driving simulators are increasingly being used to study the interaction between drivers, vehicles and their environments. As well as teaching new drivers or improving road skills, they make it easier to look at changes to signposting and other aspects of the road environment. They are also very important in road safety research.

The disadvantage is that their hardware, software and staff support are all expensive. This is one of the reasons why TRAIL, the University of Groningen, TNO Defence & Security and the SWOV, working closely with commercial firm ST Software, have been improving the software they use.

The new software enables multiple simulators to be used simultaneously in a driving environment, opening new ways to research the interaction between road users. But it also allows aspects of research to be conducted in very simple, and so very cheap, configurations. Such an experiment can be prepared on a small simulator and then carried out on a big one.

Another interesting aspect of this software is the realism with which it models the human behaviour of simulated road users. This keeps the quality of the research high, whilst making its preparation and conduct much faster and more effective.

The consortium developing the software platform is headed by Prof. Karel Brookhuis of Delft University of Technology and the University of Groningen, a member of the TRAIL Programming Board. The consortium's members are endeavouring to standardise experimentation and the exchange of staff and facilities.

The improved driving simulator is to be demonstrated publicly for the first time on Friday 11 November, at TNO Defence & Security, Kampweg 5, Soesterberg, the Netherlands. The demonstration begins at 11am and will last until about 1pm. The software will be ready for general use in early 2006.
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