CUSTOMIZABLE DRIVING SIMULATOR
Motivo designed and built two versions of a realistic driving simulator for different cost points and space constraints
Systems Technology, Inc. (STI) is a research and development company with over 50 years of expertise in analysis and simulation of vehicle dynamics, automatic and manual control theory, human factors, human-machine interaction and vehicle safety. STI was interested in the development of a new driving simulator console and was looking for a production partner to design and manufacture the electromechanical system.
STI’s driving simulator (STISIM Drive) required hardware that could support a configurable, scenario-based simulation. As a multipurpose platform made for driver evaluation, rehabilitation, and driving research, the hardware needed to support a variety of options for different use cases ranging from disabled driving training to right hand drive controls and pedals. STI required enhanced realism in their new system, which had previously utilized a videogame steering controller. A simple USB interface between the simulator hardware and STI’s software was also important.
An exceptional user experience had to be maintained across multiple configurations — both fully immersive and minimal desktop configurations of the STISIM Drive had to match the desired user experience. In addition, creating a system to replicate the experience of real world driving requires a keen understanding of the parameters involved.
In order to create options for different customers, two main versions of the hardware were created. Motivo developed a desktop model for STI’s customers with limited space and a fully integrated model for those who wished to have seat, pedals, and steering already preconfigured. Keeping both development time and production costs down, Motivo developed a unified steering unit that was common across both setups. Motivo provided an excellent user experience by modifying an existing production car steering column for simulation use. Repurposing the electric power steering to provide force feedback to the steering wheel, the solution both looked and felt realistic.
Motivo successfully overcame the design, build, and development challenges with the driving simulator and delivered the system on-schedule to STI. Since then, Motivo has been making 20 units per year. The driving simulators have been in use around the world in various educational environments, providing customers the ability to accurately simulate and test driving parameters. It also sees use in both driver education and occupational therapy, where it is the most complete and customizable simulated driving tool on the market.