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Published on Jan 16, 2012
The VIL is a virtual reality (VR) simulator, which is coupled with a real car. For this purpose, position and orientation of the car and the driver's head are tracked, mapped and displayed in a virtual reality. Thus, the user can navigate through the VR by moving a real car. Using virtual sensor models, the driving situation in the virtual world can be accurately captured. By coupling these sensor models with the steering wheel and pedals of the real car, these devices can be incorporated into the control loop.
The driver is shown the virtual environment via a "head-mounted display", so that the driver can no longer see the real environment. Therefore, an open space is needed in which the VIL can be moved around safely. The university's test track offers a safe environment for the use of the VIL. Consequently, we created a virtual environment in which the main features of the actual test track have been modeled.
Since the VIL combines a static driving simulator with a real vehicle, it offers all of the benefits of traditional car simulators. For example, it allows for the observation and testing of realistic driver behaviour during critical traffic situations without endangering people. Furthermore, experimental scenarios can be accurately reproduced in user studies, thus increasing the reliability of these studies. On the other hand, the biggest drawback of traditional driving simulators, namely the unrealistic impression of the dynamic movements which are normally experienced during driving, is no longer an issue with the VIL since the user is sitting in a real car. The VIL thus allows for the cost-effective development and testing of new driver assistance systems before these are tested in the real world.
Originally, the VIL was developed by Audi as part of a PhD. thesis written by Thomas Bock . In collaboration with Carmeq GmbH, the VIL was implemented at the Universität der Bundeswehr with the goal of further development and improvement.
The following video shows a short demo of the VIL in action at the Universität der Bundeswehr: