The engineers of Volvo they call it "The ultimate driving simulator", but not just as an excuse to justify his passion for video games. Actually, this revolutionary mixed reality simulator from the Swedish company is used to make great advances in safety and autonomous driving technology.
The configuration features a mobile driver's seat, a haptic-responsive steering wheel, and an ultra-high-definition virtual reality viewer that will delight the most experienced gamer.. But the Volvo simulator takes the concept to another level, to the point that it is difficult to distinguish between reality and simulation. Which is precisely what it is about.
Thanks to the advanced technology of Unity, the main platform for real-time 3D development, and to the work of the experts in virtual and mixed reality of the Finnish company Varjo, Using this simulator is equivalent to driving a real vehicle on a real road. Combines high definition 3D graphics highly realistic, an augmented reality viewer and a full Teslasuit suit that provides haptic feedback from a virtual world while controlling the driver's physical reactions.
This combination of software and hardware enables Volvo engineers to simulate endless traffic conditions on a real test track using a real vehicle but in absolute safety. The valuable information gained on the interaction between people and vehicles helps engineers develop new functions for safety, driver assistance and autonomous driving.
The testers can work with imaginary active safety and driver assistance functions, autonomous driving user interfaces, future vehicle models and many other situations. The simulator is used on real test tracks or in the test lab and each situation is fully customizable. The possibilities are literally endless.
When developing vehicle safety systems, such as collision avoidance technologies, testing is crucial, but testing these systems under real-world conditions can be dangerous, time-consuming and expensive. Nevertheless, virtual and mixed reality simulations allow completely safe testing in authentic environments, without the need to build prototypes or configure complex scenarios.
THE SIMULATOR IN DETAIL
UNITY SIMULATION ENGINES. The simulation scenarios are created with the latest real-time 3D software from Unity, the maker of one of the most popular game development platforms. With Unity, Volvo experts can simulate virtual objects and environments, or enter an exact 3D model of any Volvo vehicle in a virtual environment for evaluation in different locations and under different lighting and weather conditions.
VARJO MIXED REALITY VIEWER. Last year Volvo became, together with Varjo, the first vehicle manufacturer to allow a real vehicle to be driven while using a mixed reality viewer. The XR-1 Developer Edition viewer de Varjo uses video cameras to enable mixed reality and provides mixed or virtual reality in high definition resolution. With this viewer, objects and environments created in Unity are seamlessly integrated into the real world.
TESLASUIT, A TAILOR-MADE SUIT. Through the application of forces, vibrations or movements, haptic technology allows to recreate the tactile experience when interacting with the virtual world. By using Teslasuit's advanced full haptic suit, Volvo's simulation testers physically perceive a small-scale reproduction of the forces they would experience in a collision, but without any risk. The suit also allows Volvo engineers to analyze these reactions to study how muscles, blood pressure and heart rate react in stressful situations. All this information will be used to create the next generation of security systems aimed at avoiding and mitigating risk situations.