Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-0143

An Immersive Vehicle-in-the-Loop VR Platform for Evaluating Human-to-Autonomous Vehicle Interactions 2019-01-0143

In this paper we present the virtual reality driving simulator currently in development by our institution. The platform is designed so to: allow for incorporating live real-world driving data into the simulation, enabling Vehicle-in-the-Loop testing of autonomous driving behaviors and providing a useful mean to evaluate the human factor in the autonomous vehicle context. Specifically, it will be used for the testing of the autonomous driving algorithm and for the evaluation of human response to specific autonomous behavior. Research for the development of analogous platform have been carried out in recent years. Among these, some try to introduce software simulation in the hardware loop by using a virtual sensor which senses the objects in the virtual environment as if perceived in the real vehicle. Their approaches represent a good step for the development of this new kind of simulators. However, limitation such as real-time data streaming and lack of immersive visualization in virtual reality still exist and need to be addressed. We defined a novel platform that allows for realistic virtual traffic scenario creation in a virtual reality with real-time traffic data, provided by driving the real car on a real-world road. To increase the level of realism of the simulation and its physical validity, we not only defined a realistic representation of the environment using real-world data, but we also defined a system that allows the user to experience a simulation which integrates the virtual and real worlds by providing real-time feedback from the virtual environment to the real world. The overall platform consists of the following components: the VR simulation environment to visualize the vehicle, a control system which produces the dynamic of the virtual vehicle according to some autonomous driving algorithm, a system that allows communication from the real-world car to the visualization module and vice versa.


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