Driving in Virtual Reality : Requirements for automotive research and development

Abstract: In the last decades, there has been a substantial increase in the development of complex active safety systems for automotive vehicles. These systems need to be tested for verification and validation to ensure that the system intervenes in the correct situations using the correct measures. There are multiple methods available to perform such testing. Software-in-the-loop and hardware-in-the-loop testing offer effective driverless testing. Other methods increase the fidelity by including human drivers, such as driving simulators and experiments performed at test tracks.This thesis examines vehicle-in-the-loop testing, an innovative method where the driver of a real vehicle wears a head-mounted display that displays virtual targets. This method combines the benefits of driving simulators with the benefits of using a real vehicle on a test track. Driving simulators offer repeatability, safety, and the possibility of complex interactions between actors. In contrast, the real vehicle provides the correct vehicle dynamics and motion feedback.There is a need to know how the technology behind the method might influence the results from vehicle-in-the-loop testing. Two techniques for vehicle-in-the-loop systems are studied. The first involves video-see through head-mounted displays, where the focus of the research is on the effects of visual latency on driving behavior. The results show that lateral driving behavior changes with added latency, but longitudinal behavior appears unaffected. The second system uses an opaque head-mounted display in an entirely virtual world. The research shows that this solution changes speed perception and results in a significant degradation in performance of tasks dependent on visual acuity.This research presents results that are relevant to consider when developing vehicle-in-the-loop platforms. The results are also applicable when choosing scenarios for this test method.

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