The CARDS driving simulator

Objectives

Several static simulators have been developed by Renault, Research Department since 1989. The need to enhance driving realism through a better consistency between visual and kinaesthetic stimuli, and the emergence of new research and development needs have led Renault to build a new dynamic simulator in 1999.

Among the key applications planned on this simulator were studies such as : driver aid systems, dynamic comfort (seats, suspensions), ergonomics (assessment of man-machine interfaces), visibility studies (masking effects due to vehicle architecture) or headlight design.

Simulator description

The development and integration were carried out by the Technical Centre for Simulation, in cooperation with the Mechanical and Electrical Design Offices of Renault (Research Department) and was certified compliant with EC standards.

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Driver station

The simulator uses a generic cockpit called CARDS2 resulting from the Eureka project of the same name, with fully operational commands (steering wheel, pedals, gearbox lever, etc.) and animated dashboards dials. Force feedback systems are coupled to the steering wheel, the gearbox lever, clutch and brakes, to simulate proper physical response.

Motion platform

The 6-axes motion platform uses electromechanical actuators producing accelerations up to 0.5 g within a motion envelope of about 40 cm linear and 20° angular displacement. These performances allow rendering of most of the car dynamics in average driving situations.

Image generation and display

The driver is fully immersed in the virtual scene, composed of a 150° wide frontal image and 3 back-projection screens for the rear-view mirrors.

Real-time digital images are computed by Linux PCs with last generation nVIDIA Quadro graphics boards. Image projection is performed by 3 Barco Sim4 projectors for the frontal views, and 3 Barco LCD projectors for the rear views.

Simulation software

The dynamics simulator uses the SCANeR© II simulation software, developed by the Technical Centre for Simulation. This software is a modular environment dedicated to driving simulation, including modules for image generation, vehicle dynamics simulation, traffic generation, sound effects, motion platform and motion seat command strategies, cockpit I/O acquisition, as well as several tools for scenario edition and monitoring.

SCANeR© II is also used at Volvo Trucks (F), Transport Research Laboratories (UK), SINTEF (N), Audi (D), Nissan (Japan) and the University of Minnesota Institute (USA) among others.

Applications

This dynamic simulator is used for the development and design of man-machine interaction (MMI) systems, adaptive cruise control (ACC) or electronic stability programs (ESP). For further studies on driver behaviour, for instance in accident situations, the simulator is an ideal tool to create reproductible and safe experiments.

CARDS

The actual simulator uses a generic and modular cockpit developed within the framework of the Eureka CARDS project (Comprehensive Automobile Research and Development Simulator) Σ!1924 aiming at the development of a driving simulator based on a visualisation helmet and a motion platform.

Technical Data

  • Driver station : CARDS2 generic cockpit, fully instrumented with CAN multiplexed data acquisition.
  • Force feedback :
    • DAE TRW steering wheel actuator and active gas pedal,
    • Passive actuators for gas and clutch pedals, gearbox lever and hand brake.
  • Motion platform : 6-axes electromechanical from Hydraudyne.
  • Projection : Barco Sim4 and LCD projectors.
  • Software : SCANeR© II, developed by the Technical Center for Simulation
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