April 9, 2021

April 2021 - SMITS lab officially adds a driving simulator to its capabilities.  The acquired driving simulator has 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) motion base that enables heave, roll, and pitch movements while driving for an immersive experience in the virtual reality environment.  The driving scenarios within the simulator’s VR environment can be changed based on weather conditions, roadway surfaces and environments, daytime and nighttime driving conditions, heavy or light traffic, urban or rural roadways, and many other options.  The dynamics of the simulator itself can be modified to provide various driving experiences with different car models and types, and functions can be called up during the simulation to either the driving scenario or the vehicle dynamics.  The simulator can also be modified to test self-driving cars and connected vehicle technologies.

Acquisition of this driving simulator represents a major step ahead in research at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, since driving simulators can be used for research and development in a wide spectrum of applications.  Example applications include: (a) investigating effect of cell-phone talking and texting on driving performance; (b) modeling the effect of wind forces on driving behavior and vehicle performance; (c) modeling and testing impacts of connected vehicle applications on driving behavior; (d) performing a psychological assessment of drivers’ mental state in autonomous vehicles; (e) developing and testing algorithms for self-driving cars; (f) assess driving risk in patients with glaucoma; (g) assessing post-injury driving performance of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries; and (h) studying the driving performance of fatigued and drunk drivers.