A Description of the UMTRI Driving Simulator
Architecture and Alternatives

Alan Olson and Paul Green

April, 1997

The UMTRI driving simulator family consists of six simulators used for research on in-vehicle devices (e.g., cellular phones, collision warnings displays), medical considerations (e.g., impairments due to alcohol and Alzheimer's disease, along with individual differences due to age and sex), steering system dynamics, and simulator design characteristics.

This report describes the Driver Interface Research Simulator, a network of Macintosh computers that generate the road scene, instrument panel graphics, sound, and traffic. This report examines the following basic questions:

1. Why should a networked simulator be used to present traffic?
2. How should tasks be allocated among computers?
3. Which network should be used?
4. How should simulators on different computers be coordinated?
5. How should simulators track the locations of vehicles simulated on other computers?

Decisions were made with an eye towards performance, flexibility, and ease of implementation. The solutions chosen were:
10Base-T Ethernet using AppleTalk protocol
distributed coordination
dead reckoning

Future directions of network development are also described.

Graphical Abstract (.pdf) | UMTRI-97-15 Full Report (.pdf)


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