The Chalmers vehicle simulator is a moving base simulator. The driving simulator can be divided into seven main sections; a simulation kernel, vehicle dynamics, motion cueing algorithm, graphical environment generation, a sound generating system, a steering wheel force feedback system, and a vehicle cabin. The simulation kernel, graphics system and sound system are based on software provided by VTI
(Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute).
A quarter of a Volvo S80 is mounted on the motion platform and presents an authentic vehicle cabin interface to the driver. It provides the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, and the vehicle’s instrument panel. Access to the Volvo CAN Bus enables communication between the instrument panel and the simulation computers, thus contributing to a more realistic driving experience.
A projector displays the graphical environment on a screen in front of the driver. The VISIR software from VTI generates the graphics from an abstract representation of the road network described in the open file format, OpenDrive.
The motion platform is used for generating inertial cues. It is a hexapod with six degrees of freedom which enables the reproduction of a vast combination of different displacements. A model predictive control strategy is used as the motion cueing algorithm. The algorithm considers the vestibular system of humans and tests have shown that it makes a better usage of the available workspace of the motion platform than a classical washout filter.
The simulation kernel is the core of driving simulator and is responsible for coordination of all the subsystems as well as executing the driving scenario. Logging is also provided by the kernel software. Because the kernel and the graphic systems are based on software from VTI, experimental setups including scenarios can be moved between Chalmers and VTI with limited efforts.
Vehicle dynamics simulations are done with a veDYNA model executed on a PXI real-time system provided by National Instruments. The real-time system platform has four CPU cores that allow simultaneous execution of several tasks. Besides the vehicle dynamics model, the real time platform also executes the motion cueing algorithm and provides an environment to implement vehicle control systems.
The driving simulator has been a very useful tool for several research projects.