In the Virtual-Reality-Laboratory (VR-Lab) and in the Human-Machine-Interface-Laboratory (HMI-Lab) new driver assistance systems and functions can be evaluated quickly and flexibly regarding their usability and acceptance. For that, both laboratories almost completely abstain from the use of real hardware: a seat with a steering wheel and a pedalboard serve the purpose of controlling the virtual vehicle. A center console with implemented touchscreen interface can be used to expand the simulation, but the remaining interior of the vehicle exists only in virtual reality.
Using a CAN-bus, real components can be connected and tested in both laboratories. This includes a multi-function display, force-feedback-pedals and steering wheel as well as a center console with tiptronic gearshift. Furthermore prototypical systems from the industry can be connected to the simulated vehicle.
Virtual landscapes are modified or created according to test requirements. Using simple scripts, a computer generates and controls autonomous traffic participants in the simulation.Any possible combination of driving tasks is precisely reproducible. In the process, an optional voice output can be realised, e.g. for directions.
For data recording a variety of measurements as well as data from simulations and from the simulated CAN-bus is available. Optionally a gaze-detection system can be installed. The experiments can be supplemented by the measuring physiological data.
Both facilities are different regarding the projection system. While the HMI-Lab shows the virtual landscape in an angle of 120° in mono-projection, the VR-Lab offers a 270° stereo-projection. This enables realistic and spacially perceptible simulations of a car cockpit and of the environment. To further enhance the illusion, an ultrasonic head-tracking system in the VR-lab continuously monitors the position and orientation of the viewer’s head and adapts the picture perspective accordingly.
VR-Lab and HMI-Lab serve the purpose of an early and economic evaluation of new assistance systems. By the use of stereo-projection, the test-person receives a perception of three-dimensionality and the feeling of already driving the car of the future. Head-Up-Displays, freely moveable advices or directions projected onto the road are just a few examples of systems which are only realisable in real test vehicles in a very complicated and cost-intensive way. Such systems can be implemented and tested in the virtual laboratories with a much lower expenditure of time and money, thus already lowering the risk of minus developments in early stages of the concepts.
This makes way for an ample scope of unusual methods of solutions otherwise unpursuitable for reasons of expense.