Queensland has a new state-of-the-art advanced driving simulator that will help advance Australian road safety research and provide insights into driver behaviour.
The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) is based at the Queensland University of Technology. The $1.5 million project allows drivers to step into a Holden Commodore and simulate driving at speed under different conditions, thanks to eight computers, projectors and a six degree of freedom motion platform that moves and twists in three dimensions.
The simulator offers a virtual driving environment for a driver and up to four passengers, complete with rear vision images, engine noise and vehicular motion.
The simulator will be used by researchers from several disciplines including road safety, optometry, psychology, mathematics and physiology a degree of realism without the risk of fatalities.
Researchers can create different scenarios depending on the environmental and traffic conditions. The innovative technology will allow researchers to influence, observe and record drivers reactions and skills.
Eleven projects involving the simulator are already planned. The CARRS-Q’s simulator will be used for research into:
- Driver fatigue
- Driving distractions
- Alcohol and drug-impaired driving
- Road conditions and environments
- In-car technology such as fatigue sensors, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and Internet-enabled devices
- At-risk road users
- Emergency reactions and interactions.
Road crashes are the major cause of traumatic death and injury in Australia and are estimated to cost more than $17 billion a year in economic and social costs but studies into driver behaviour is often hampered by the high costs of implementation.
The CARRS-Q simulator will be available through contract or collaborative arrangements.
The project has been funded by the Queensland University of Technology and the Australian Research Council, University of Queensland, Queensland Transport and Main Roads, RACQ, Motor Accident Insurance Commission and General Motors Holden.