Validating speed and road surface realism in VTI driving simulator III

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New simulator models concerning vibration, noise and graphics have been designed and implemented in the VTI Simulator III. The objective of this study is to validate this simulator in terms of road surface realism. Twenty-four drivers participated in the study and drove the same route both in the simulator and on real roads. Three road sections ranging from very smooth to rather uneven were incorporated in the design. The comparison included the objective driving parameter speed as well as subjective parameters from questionnaires and rating scales (evenness, quietness and comfort level). A road section with five speed limit changes was of particular interest in the analyses. No statistically significant difference could be found between the simulator and the car, neither in the parameter speed (in sections with no speed limit changes) nor in the ratings evenness and quietness. Despite similar speed profiles surrounding the speed limit signs, there was a statistically significant difference between the speed in the car and in the simulator, with more rapid accelerations and decelerations in the simulator. The comfort rating was shown to be higher in the car compared to the simulator, but in both cases the general trend showed higher comfort on smoother roads. These results indicate absolute validity for the ratings evenness and quietness, and for the measure speed, and relative validity for comfort and speed surrounding speed limit signs.

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