ACE Driving Simulator and Its Applications to Evaluate Driver Interfaces 2003-01-0124
A fixed base driving simulator called the VVDS (Virtual Vehicle Driving Simulator), its operating procedure and software system have been developed by a team of automotive suppliers (called ACE -- Advanced Cockpit Enabler) for quick evaluations of early working prototypes of driver interfaces. The system is designed to provide quick feedback to the product designers in early concept generation and validation phases of new automotive HMI architecture strategies and interfaces of various in-vehicle devices. The simulator consists of a reconfigurable cab with quick-change attachments to mount various controls and displays in package positions. A number of drivers are asked to drive the simulator and perform a number of tasks when prompted by pre-recorded voice commands. The entire data collection and data analysis procedure is developed such that new experiments can be configured, implemented and analyzed quickly and with the least amount of a human analyst’s involvement. The system generates reports showing graphs of driver behavior, performance measures (e.g. driver inputs and outputs as functions of time, number of glances, total visual time, lane position standard deviation, velocity standard deviation, etc.) and subjective impressions of drivers (e.g. ratings on work load, control operating feel, surface tactile feel of control surfaces, etc.) for different tasks associated in operating/using various in-vehicle controls and displays.
The paper presents the description of the simulator system, illustrations on its evaluation procedure and results of two experiments conducted to evaluate different radio designs by involving different radio and non-radio tasks (such as increase/decrease radio volume, adjust base and treble, select/seek/tune a given radio station, change CD track, eject a CD and insert a new CD, answer a cell phone, dial a phone number, etc.).