Today we had a demonstration of the Fraunhofer Institute’s car simulator. This consists of a VW Golf car that is equipped with the latest self-driving and anti-collision software. Its control dashboard features the latest Porsche Panamera and BMW collision avoidance systems.
The simulator transfers driver feedback to the brake system and car chassis. A 270 degree real-time motorway simulation projected onto multiple screens gives the driver the feeling they are driving a real car (check out the photos). They can simulate fog, icy conditions, traffic jams, high speed motorway situations and other scenarios to test their hypotheses. Fraunhofer conducts human interface research into things such as how distracted a driver gets when exposed to different lighting conditions, entertainment systems, or using mobile devices, or at what speeds in traffic jams ‘car office work’ can be done without increasing the probability of crashing. Together with full driver-less simulation this is used to gain insights that will help determine future uses for cars. Collaboration with other initiatives such as the Google driverless car are helping provide solid scientific asnwers to some complex research questions.
Cross-disciplinary teams of psychologists, physicists, car designers, software developers and user designers allow multiple scenarios to be investigated. The Fraunhofer Institute does some of this research for the public good and disseminates the results widely. Other research is done on a strictly confidential basis for commercial partnhers including car manufacturers, OEM’s and others.
Using the simulator is a very real experience and provides exciting insights into what it might be like to drive a car of the future.
To find out more, contact Professor Frank Wagner and his colleagues at IAO, Stuttgart.
Author: Martin Knoche, Business Innovation Group at Callaghan Innovation (Stuttgart 4. June 2014)