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Full Motion Car Simulator Training

Borrow From Aviation To Improve Driver Training
  [vote for,

I'm continually amazed that people are just allowed to get into 2-ton metal boxes and hare around the road network. You'd think it would lead to a litany of tire-screeching near misses and fiery deaths. And you'd be right.

There's a spectrum of how good or bad the situation is, mostly depending on the quality of the pool of drivers. In the UK, during work hours on a week day the standard is very good. Everyone is trained to the high standard of the UK driving test(s), lots of professional drivers and people who are experienced* because they're driving for work- related reasons. This deteriorates significantly on Sundays when Mr & Mrs Retiree drive at a constant 43mph on a tour of local garden supply retailers.

In the US the situation is much worse, my driving test was a brief run through the most basic car controls, a reverse parallel park into a space the size of Switzerland** then a drive around, literally, one block. 2 right turns, 3 left. Between that and a lack of practice, I'm a much worse driver in the US than UK. But everyone else is terrible too***.

So, let's up driver training a little. Aviation uses several grades of simulator. Starting with simple static cockpit layouts, where pilots can run through procedures, memorizing switch locations etc. to a full motion "box" where a flight deck is replicated. Complete with computer generated window imagery and crucially, full hydraulic control of 3 dimensional movement. This works because without visual cues, it's difficult to tell the difference between 0.5G forward acceleration and being tilted back 45 degrees.

So lets build full motion car simulators. These should be much cheaper to build than aircraft sims for the following reasons. 1. Cockpit equipment is staggeringly expensive. Instead, we use a real car; $10k and call it a day. 2. Movement systems are expensive. Less so nowadays. I imagine a wheel-hub mounted frame with some actuators to jiggle the suspension a little to simulate road conditions. Mount this on the flat upper surface of a hemisphere in a pit lined with rollers and balance the whole set-up. We should only need 10-20 degrees to simulate the forces of normal driving. 3. Generating imagery is expensive. Not so much any more. We need one big front screen, two side screens and a rear-view mirror screen. This is in high-end gaming PC range. ~$3-5k?

There. Now drivers can train on their own. More interesting scenarios can be simulated, such as the back end stepping out in the wet, planing on standing water, sliding on ice, understeer & oversteer. This should address some of the glaring deficiencies of conventional driver training: that it's not safe to give actual experience of real road dangers without generating real danger.

*and current on type as the aviation world would put it.

** bump the curb, fine, roll up the curb, also fine as long as it drops back down.

***Driving stress isn't the same everywhere, drive north, once past Boston things start calming down. By the time you're in Maine, it's all Volvo wagons politely waving you through. Similarly, drive south, past D.C, things start improving. By Georgia, honking is nearly extinct. I think they just start a rumor about you or something.

bs0u0155, Dec 03 2020

Collision experience for learners Collision_20experience_20for_20learners
Could be included. [8th of 7, Dec 05 2020]


       While there are a number of driving simulator systems and training companies out there, none of them seem to use a whole car as the set-up; just a seat and the necessary screens and peripherals.
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 03 2020

       Having passed driving tests in London and in a northern Californian suburb, I recognise what you’re saying about the difference in the rigour of the tests.
hippo, Dec 03 2020

       //I recognise what you’re saying about the difference in the rigour of the tests.//   

       I like extra rigour, but there's elements of the UK test that are specific to the test and have little relevance beyond that. I can't remember ever reversing back around a corner into a junction or doing a 3 point turn. In reality you'll whip round at the next roundabout or something.
bs0u0155, Dec 05 2020

       // or something //   

       A J-turn ? Not always easy in heavy traffic...
8th of 7, Dec 05 2020

       //I can't remember ever reversing back around a corner into a junction or doing a 3 point turn.// - I’ve done both those things outside of the test, but some of the point of those exercises is just so you can demonstrate you have control over the car and know where it is in relation to the curb and other cars
hippo, Dec 05 2020


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