Human Factors Research Program, Phase 1

Principal Investigator(s):

Michael Wade, Former Professor and Director, Kinesiology


Project summary:

Research capabilities of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Guidestar program have been limited by the lack of a wrap-around driving simulator at the University of Minnesota's Human Factors Research Laboratory (HFRL). Already available is the Silicon Graphics Onyx dual processor mini-computer for image creation/processing and three of four special projection units required to display front and rear high quality virtual environments. The purpose of this research project is to complete the wrap-around driving simulator and a delivery system within the HFRL for conducting basic and applied studies of transportation safety and traffic flow. The proposed simulator will be capable of at least 150' image projection forward and 60' image projection rearward (360' projection is possible with additional projector units). Deliverables include the simulator itself, procedure/policy manuals, pilot study (beta-test) results, one formal experiment (possibly involving collision warning/avoidance systems), virtual environment research conducted off-line, a series of reports, and a demonstration of capabilities. Having an automobile simulator capable of providing wrap-around projections of high speed and high resolution images provides new opportunities for human factors and transportation research, especially in testing driver reactions to new technologies and virtual environments which could never be tested in the real world.


Project details:

  • Project number: 1994008
  • Start date: 12/1994
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety