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”Ultimate driving simulator” for safer cars

Volvo Cars Case

Industry

Automotive

What is used

In 2019, together with Varjo, Volvo Cars became the first car maker to make it possible to drive a real car while wearing a mixed reality headset. Now that collaboration has been expanded to include Unity and full-body haptic suit maker Teslasuit.

Problem


When developing safety systems for cars, like collision-avoiding technologies, testing is crucial. But testing these systems in reality can be dangerous, time-consuming, and expensive.

Objective


Virtual and mixed reality simulation for perfectly safe testing in authentic environments, without having to build any physical prototypes or set up complex scenarios.

Volvo Cars engineers created what they call “the ultimate driving simulator” that blends reality and virtuality to help advance its safety and autonomous driving technology. A setup combines life-like, high-definition 3D graphics, an augmented reality headset, and a full-body Teslasuit that provides haptic feedback from a virtual world, while also monitoring bodily reactions.

Solution

Teslasuit

Through the application of forces, vibrations, or motions, haptic technology makes it possible to recreate the experience of touch when interacting with the virtual world. By wearing Teslasuit’s advanced full-body haptic suit, Volvo’s simulation testers can physically feel small reproductions of the forces one would experience in a crash, while experiencing no actual risk. The suit also enables Volvo’s engineers to test these reactions by studying how muscles, stress levels, and heart rate react under stress, and applying this learning to create the next generation of safety systems aimed at avoiding and mitigating risky situations.

Varjo Mixed Reality Headset

The Varjo XR-1 Developer Edition headset uses video cameras to enable mixed reality and provides mixed or virtual reality at a high-definition resolution. It allows objects and environments created in Unity to be seamlessly integrated into the real world.

Unity Simulation Engines

The simulation scenarios are created using the latest real-time 3D software from Unity, the company behind one of the world’s most popular development platforms for video game development. Using Unity, Volvo experts can create virtual environments and objects to use in simulations or put a fully accurate 3D model of any Volvo car design into any virtual environment, assessing the design in different lights, locations and weather.

See the

Results

The combination of software and hardware allows Volvo Cars engineers to endlessly simulate traffic scenarios on a real test track road while using a real car, all in total safety. Engineers can gain important insights on the interaction between people and the car for development of new safety, driver assistance and autonomous driving features.

Testers can be exposed to imagined active safety and driver assistance features, upcoming autonomous drive user interfaces, future car models and many other scenarios. It can be used on real test track roads or in the test lab, and every scenario is fully customizable. The possibilities are literally endless.

Source: Volvo Car’s press release